Single Opt-in or Double Opt-in – Which Way to Build Email Marketing List?

Isn’t ‘The List’ the cornerstone of email marketing?  The more valid, responsive and large amount of addresses are there in the list, the more successful the marketing campaigns will be. Marketers use various methods to build up the opt-in list, single opt-in and double opt-in (also called confirmed opt-in)s are two methods used extensively.

If both methods are legitimate, then which way will lead to cost-effective, successful email campaigns and more conversion? For that, let’s dissect and assess advantages, disadvantages, and effectiveness of the both – single opt-in and double opt-in.

What is single opt-in?

The single opt-in method implies that the subscriber has once signed up for product updates or newsletter or when a customer starts receiving  promotional emails after they make any purchase from a store. In both bases, subscribers do not receive any confirmation from the company.            

What is Double opt-in?

Double opt-in or confirmed opt-in procedure of building email list helps marketers verifying subscribers’ interest and their valid email addresses. Marketers respond to their subscribers’ signups by sending them a confirmation email which is also known as ‘welcome email’. Such confirmation mails commonly include messages such as, “You have successfully signed up for our newsletters”, “Welcome to the family of…” or “Click this link to confirm your signup or registration” among others. Thus, marketers can ensure lesser chances of subscribers to report them for spamming.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of both processes?

Though single opt-in process skips the steps of seeking confirmation from subscribers, but SOI benefits marketers in a lot of ways in terms of the list growth, opportunities, and performance.

Advantages of single opt-in (SOI)

Least complex process: By eliminating the confirmation process, single opt-in makes it less complicated and adds addresses more quickly instead of waiting for the confirmation. Often subscribers tend to avoid, forget or want to skip too many steps of subscriptions thus, increasing the completion rates than double opt-in (DOI).

Lower failure and higher list growth: Many subscribers might miss out your confirmation mail and then, they will complain of not receiving updates from your company. Around 20 to 40% of subscriptions are lost through confirmation failures which would lead to about 20% loss of list growth.

More conversion: Debates around whether single opt-in or double opt-in churns more engagement and conversions are never ending. Many argue that double opt-ins have more potentials to generate engagements, open rates or culminate conversations into conversions since this method confirms subscribers’ interests in receiving marketers’ communications, product updates or promotional mails. But, aren’t single opt-in processes methods also those subscribers who are willing to confirm as well as those would not want to receive additional confirmation mails. Thus, marketers can get to increase click rates and conversion rates.

Lesser technical requirements: Single opt-in helps reducing expenses on additional resources for building email list. This is more advantageous for marketers who are using any third-party email marketing vendors who would charge them extra for extra technical requirements for additional emails with links and webpages requesting users to confirm their email addresses and interests.

Disadvantages of single opt-in (SOI)

Unconfirmed subscription: Email addresses that are unconfirmed pose greater risks of bounce rates when marketers send them any email. Thus, the cost of sending high volume emails often incurs losses and reduces ROI with unconfirmed subscribers present in the list.

Less Respectful of privacy: Marketers run risks of intruding into others’ digital privacy with no confirmation letter. As SOI method of building list gives lesser room for users’ online privacy and their right to limit information they want to receive, some recipients gets disappointed with consistent flow of mails and report you for spamming.

Greater Risk to Your Sender Reputation: With single opt-in methods, the risks of bad addresses such as mistyped addresses, invalid addresses cannot be ruled out – these bad addresses and bounce rates will negatively affect your reputation. Also wrong addresses might land your email campaigns into wrong people’s inbox who are not interested in your content or offers – these users are likely to report you as spam and damage your brand’s reputation.

Many marketers consider the quality of engagement with active subscribers determine the success of the email campaigns, more than the volume and speed at which the list id built – that’s when they use double opt-in method to accumulate their email lists. Advantages and disadvantages of double opt-in methods of building email lists are –

Advantages of Double opt-in (DOI)

More engagement

Though SOI method of building list is extra complexities but added activities of confirmation improves list engagement which eventually determines better quality of lead generation and campaign health. That’s why double opt-in ensures better list engagement and considered a better alternative and more advantageous in terms of revenue generation.

Protection against bad addresses:

Quality over quantity matters when you are building a list with minimum amount of bad addresses. Also, you need to remember that many of your competitors might fill in your email list with bad address to tarnish your online brand reputation and damage the fate of your email marketing campaigns. In such cases, you can sidestep the risk of running your campaign with bad addresses with double opt-in signup method.

Better opportunities of immediate communication with subscribers:

DOI or double opt-in email signup method sends a welcome mail to people who just signed up with your company. Thus, you can use welcome mails as an opportunity to initiate communication with your subscribers immediately. The open rates of welcome emails are estimated as much as 50 percent higher than any other email marketing campaigns. Hence, you can introduce your brand, products, offers, added features and benefits and competitive advantage your products have over your counterparts using welcome mails. Thus, you can make a special welcome offer and connect with your prospects.

Read more: Cheat Sheet to Get Highest Open Rates with Welcome Emails

Disadvantages of Double opt-in (DOI)

Loss of subscribers: About 20% of people who initially signed up for your newsletters miss the next step of confirming their email address. There are other reasons double opt-in might not work which include accidental deletion of confirmation email, mail getting landed up in spam box or subscribers simply forgetting completing the final confirmation step. That’s why double opt-in could be a tough choice for building email list.

Slower rate of growth: A double opt-in email signup process will slow down the speed at which you can increase the volume of the list owing to its dual layer of email address confirmation process. Moreover, since many subscribers take longer to confirm and even forget or choose not to confirm the signup. Thus, growing list in this method takes longer than usual and takes more work to send reminders to subscribers for completing the signup process.

Heavier technical resources: Another major challenge of building list using double opt-in email signup method is requirement of additional technical resources especially if you are building list for proprietary email marketing platform unless you are using any third-party email marketing vendor who has such extra resources to support your double opt-in process.

The choice to make

Now that you are aware of the pros and cons of advantages and disadvantages of single and double opt-in email sign up processes, here comes the next step – how to choose the right process for you? One of the fail-safe methods is to test them each at once – take single opt-in process for a trial period for one month and then, upgrade to the double opt-in method for the subsequent month. During the trial process, you need to evaluate each method on the determining factors such as, incidences of spam reporting, signup volume, count of bad email addresses, speed at which  email list getting accumulated, overall performance of email list and other factors, as required. After meticulous recording of all the stats of each signup process, it will be easier for you to measure and compare which solution will work and bring you quality leads and revenues for your email marketing campaigns.