Double Opt-in Introduction to Best Email Practices in 2022

July 13, 2019
double opt-in method

Here we will be covering the advantages of using a double opt-in feature in your email marketing campaign. Rather than using a single opt-in model there are a few benefits to be gained from this.

In 2019 there is hardly anyone in the email marketing sector that hasn’t heard about double opt-in. Since is just a standard practice for most today, we can confidently review its features and benefits. In the email marketing world, the double opt-in method has been around since 2000 and as the years have taught us there are ideal moments to use it and other times when it's not necessary. Sometime a single opt-in is better depending on the business, type of email, campaign or product.

Ok, first things first. The double opt-in method refers to the fact that the user not only signs up to your emailing list, but that it actually confirms that subscription. At the same time this certifies that the email address belongs to that interested individual. The process can be further explained as it follows:

  1. A visitor enters their email address, possibly along with other pertinent information, on a webpage form to sign up to receive emails.
  2. The owner of the emailing list sends an email message requesting the new subscriber to confirm their interest in receiving emails.
  3. Usually the confirmation comes in the form of a link through which the recipient can click and confirm the subscription. Other forms include responding to the email or entering a code in the webpage.
  4. If after a certain amount of time, the new subscriber doesn’t confirm the information, then the address is removed from the list.
  5. Additionally, the owner of the emailing list can send a few confirmation emails. However, no other form of communication will take place until confirmation.

In depth view of double opt-in.

So far so good, double opt-in seems like a great method to avoid defunct addresses. This is especially helpful in keeping a clean emailing list along with avoiding possible bouncing issues in the future. Well, yes and no, while in theory everything is great, there are also a few difficulties.

Beginning with the fact that you have to message every single possible subscriber. Once when they sign up and again once they have confirmed. You have t specify to the person that they will receive a confirmation email, otherwise that confirmation will never arrive. You also have to take the time to create the perfect confirmation email and make sure that the confirmation method works properly.

As an example of a great double opt-in method being applied, we have Cirque de Solei. Their opt-in program had a very good messaging system, so much that 80% of all the people that signed up for their email list confirmed their addresses using a link to do so. At the time that this was implemented their conversion rate was one of highest anywhere.

Other reasons for double opt in.

Taking the example into consideration, this means that even a great double opt-in program had a 4 in 5 success of conversion. This means that 1 in every 5 people didn’t confirmed their addresses. So, is it really worth all the effort? If you had a list of 1.000.000 emails this means that 200.000 of them didn’t confirm, so 200.000 wasted emails. And that just for the case of an 80% conversion rate, now imagine a more realistic one of 40% to 50%. Not sounding so good now huh?

Don’t be fooled, the idea behind the double opt-in method works and is a really good one. It basically prefers to waste a few emails than to waste even more by sending newsletters and more to defunct or bad addresses. Also, it saves time and effort for you, and your users, in other ways. For instance, imagine that a subscriber had a typo when entering the address, or that they wanted to use someone else’s email. The double opt-in method has got you cover there as well.

Another good thing is that when you let people know of the confirmation email, they actively search for it. This means that even if your mail reached their spam folder it won’t be there for long. While some consider the double opt-in method an overkill in email marketing, there’s no reason to not try it and see how it works. But this isn’t the end of our review.

Further on single opt in vs double opt in.

single vs double opt in

If we consider the business and email marketing and sales team, we can give them little reason to ignore potential clients that signed up but didn’t confirmed their address. In that sense, some companies prefer to use a single opt-in method to reach their public.

Even tough we have already mentioned; it is hard and long work to keep up with a double opt-in service. Specially if you’re looking for a high conversion rate. A double opt-in service requires constant maintenance and attention. While today this can be automatized services that handle this will cost money, money that will not always be worth the investment. Think of a double opt-in as a service that will yield benefits to your email marketing campaign indirectly.

Not everything with Email Marketing is so bad.

There are however, a few reasons to implement a double opt-in service.

  • If your campaign is experiencing deliverability issues.
  • If your email marketing campaign is facing malicious intent.
  • If you believe the campaign needs a sterner sign-up method other than the single opt-in.

Any of the reasons mentioned above are more than valid to use the double opt-in method. Double opt-in can be better for your email marketing campaign than you might think.

Every time your campaign experiences hard bounce or soft bounce issues or even deliverability problems. There’s a chance that a third party, whether an anti-spam organization or a certified partner, will require you to use a double opt-in method. Once you’ve experienced problems like the ones mentioned above, you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your reputation. The double opt-in is a good way to do so.

Other reason for this is simply security. From protecting yourself and your potential subscribers to the ones you already have. There are a lot of black hat mailers praying on any and all security risks. The single opt-in method is vulnerable to a variety of tactics used by less than honest individuals. Use an extra layer of security and protection, use a double opt-in service.

Double opt-in is especially recommended for organizations that are controversial or a minority. Making sure that no person is getting emails from your organization, without actually wanting to, is recommended for the long run of your email marketing campaign. This is also a way to protect yourself and subscribers from internet trolls.

Conclusion, is double opt in necessary?

Sometimes the double opt-in method is necessary and will protect your reputation in the long run. While single opt-ins are easier, faster and require less effort, they can be exploited to harm your campaign and reputation. If you just can’t get rid of issues with bouncing then it might be time to use a double opt-in method to confirm the subscription of interested people.

In any case, if you’re interested in cleaning an email list that might contain more than a few defunct addresses. We can recommend as a great service used to verify any email address in your emailing list. Make sure to run a successful email marketing campaign using this service and the double opt-in method.

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