Double Opt-In Email: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Double opt-in strategy is a great way to build a healthy email and SMS list. But is that a myth? Let's dive to know more.

August 4, 2023
Double Opt-In Email: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We all know how single opt-in works. You punch in your details and - boom - you're on the mailing list, as easy as pie.

But then there's double opt-in. It's a bit like playing hard to get: after you've given your contact details, you'll receive a coy confirmation email asking if you really, really want to be part of the club. If you decide to give it the cold shoulder, you won’t be added to the brand’s list. 

Here is an example of a confirmation email from Wonderchef:

Before you jump on board with double opt-in, let's have a deep dive into its pros and cons. This way, you can make an informed decision about whether it's the right move for you.

The Pros

1. Quality Over Quantity

Some people are bad actors; they have a knack for filling forms with fake or outdated email addresses to grab the sweet, sweet, discount you’re offering. But, there’s no point in sending emails to these addresses as these have zero engagement and high bounces, hurting your sender reputation.

Double opt-in, however, plays the gatekeeper. It ensures only genuine email addresses make it onto your list, enhancing its quality and boosting your engagement rate. 

2. Increased engagement

When people take an extra step to confirm their subscription the quality of your list becomes rich–only people who want to hear from you will get your emails. They are more likely to open and engage with your email. According to GetResponse, the open rate for the double opt-in method is around 35.72% while the single opt-in method is around 27.36%.

3. Reduced deliverability issues

With double opt-in, you can bid goodbye to a lot of deliverability issues. You’re gonna have higher and positive engagement signals, fewer spam complaints, lower bounce rates, and–most importantly–no more nightmares of spam traps.

Pro tip: When a contact subscribes, ask them to check for the confirmation email in the spam folder if not in the inbox, this helps you get whitelisted.

To learn more on fixing deliverability issues, Check out 11 Tips To Maximize Your Deliverability.

4. Compliance with regulations

GDPR, TCPA, the CAN-SPAM Act… all these regulations require explicit consent from users before you can start sending them marketing emails. Double opt-in helps you get this clear consent, keeping your email practices above board and making your life that much easier.

The Cons

1. The extra step

As much as I hate to say it, there will always be people who’re not too keen on taking the extra step to subscribe. People forget, get distracted, or simply decide it’s not worth the extra effort–which results in missed subscribers (and lost revenue).

2. Slower growth rate of your list

A strenuous opt-in process means a slower growth rate of your email list. You will miss out on some genuine subscribers, but hey, quality over quantity.

3. Technical Glitches

Implementing double opt-in means having to create and maintain a bug free confirmation email system. Glitches in these systems lead to lost subscribers.

The verdict

Align the opt-in method with your company goals. If your goal is to grow your email list quickly, then implementing double opt-in may not be the right way to go for you. From what I’ve seen, the revenue from single opt-in lists is generally higher, given you follow good email practices, when compared to double opt-in lists.

However, if you have inboxing issues, then implementing double opt-in can do wonders for your deliverability for all the reasons mentioned in the “pros” section.

Whether you decide to use single opt-in or double opt-in, make sure to collect consent explicitly and be transparent about your marketing intentions. Shoppers appreciate transparency, and so does the law!

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