The Double Opt-In – Single Opt-in Conundrum

Double opt-in has been the gold standard for email lists for many years now.  The concept being that someone signs up for a newsletter, and an email is immediately sent to that address to “confirm” that the request is valid, and to confirm that the email entered is valid.   The user is required to click a link with a token that is read by the website or service where the original form was filled in that confirms that they want to be on the list.

Detractors from this process think that this is redundant, and the person just signed up, why are we immediately asking “are they sure?”  On the other side, the thought process is if they take this extra step, then your list is higher quality, as it shows the commitment of the individual.   So who is right?

Advantages of Each Method:

Single opt-in you grow your email list fast

Single opt-in wins when it comes to which method is quicker. Adding another layer of confirmation to your emails is going to reduce the number of subscribers you get.

Building a list quickly is important when you’re trying to get your email marketing strategy started, and you can start bringing leads in and sending them through your sales funnel.

Single opt-in is simpler

Only requiring one action from your customers, single opt-in is a much easier option for them. As marketers, we want easy.

A customer wants to sign up to your emails, but not every customer will be happy about a second step.

About 80% of customers will confirm their email address. The other 20% were legitimately bad emails or subscribers not getting the email, not understanding what to do or it was filtered into a spam, or marketing folder.

Double opt-in you have a quality list

By requiring confirmation, you know for a fact that people are serious about subscribing to your email list.

So moving forward, you’re likely to see a higher open-rate and increased engagement.

Even though your list probably won’t grow as quickly, you can assign a higher average value to your subscribers.

Double opt-in gets you a response, important for deliverability

Going with a double opt-in, the increased open and engagement rate should bolster the credibility of your IP and reduce the number of times your messages are flagged as spam by recipients.  This is especially true for free services like gmail.

Is there a better way?

What if you gave consumers the convenience of single opt-in, but got the quality of double opt-in?   Or better yet, created a hybrid system that allowed you to not bother good email addresses and only require double opt-in to free?

There are a number of services available that will check the validity of email addresses.  Many of these services include an API to connect with other programs.  With each single opt-in you can run the email through the service and get information on whether it is valid, invalid, a catch-all address or a free account.   We use the Mautic marketing automation platform to do just such a thing.

Here is how our process works.

Put a form on a website connected to Mautic.

User fills in their information.

Using plugins, we send the email address to ClearOut which adds tags to the contacts record.

If the email tag is set as valid, they go straight into our good to send to segment, if it is set as invalid, unknown, catch-all or free account, then we follow-up with a confirmation email.

Once they confirm that they go into good to send to segment.  In fact, we confirm them if the email is shown as “opened”, but we do provide a link as some emails are opened and read but is not triggered as such.

double opt-in layout for mautic

Another level of sophistication is to capture a phone number through the form.  Validate that with another plugin connected to a phone validation service.  And if their email was not tagged as valid, then we send them a text telling them to confirm via the email we just sent to their entered email account (if we have a valid, mobile phone number).

This solution gives you the best of both worlds and allows you not to bother people that have provided a good email, building your list quickly, but double opt-in any emails that are questionable, providing the quality list we all want.

Contact us at if you would like to discuss adding this hybrid solution to your marketing automation process.

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