What’s the Difference Between Single and Double Opt-in?

Have you ever wondered which one converts better: single opt-in vs double opt-in? Want to learn more about the differences between double opt-in and single opt-in? In this guide, we will explain the difference between single and double opt-in, the pros and cons of each, and instructions on how to configure single opt-in for your email service provider.

Single opt-in vs. double opt-in

The main difference between single and double opt-in is how many times a user must confirm that they want to be added to an email list.

What is single opt-in?

Single opt-in is when a visitor submits their email address one time and is automatically confirmed to your mailing list. There is no need to confirm their sign up. As soon as the visitor signs up, he or she is immediately added to the email list and can begin receiving emails you send.

What is double opt-in?

Double opt-in is when a visitor needs to confirm their email before they are added to your mailing list. This means that when a visitor subscribes through an OptinMonster campaign on your website, they are sent a confirmation email which they must click a button or a link to confirm their desire to be added to the email list. Only after this confirmation is the user officially added to the email list, and they can then begin receiving emails you send.

Now that you understand the difference, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of single opt-in vs double opt-in.

Pros and Cons of using Single Opt-In

Pros of using single opt-in

Why would you ever want to use single opt-in? What are its benefits?

  • You can sign up new visitors to your list immediately.
  • Because they are added to your list, you can instantly gratify their desire for your content or newsletters.
  • Unlike double opt-in where a user can forget to confirm their subscription, you don’t have to worry about that when using single opt-in.

All of those things sound great, but are there any downsides?

Cons of using single opt-in
  • You will get fake emails. If you are offering content immediately upon signup, a user could give a fake email address, so they can get your content.
  • You will get incorrect email addresses. A user may sign up for your list and mistype their email address, thereby giving your email list a false lead and can hurt your email marketing.
  • Based upon MailChimp’s findings, you can have better overall email marketings stats by using double opt-in instead of using single opt-in.

Pros and Cons of using Double Opt-In

Pros of using Double Opt-In

Why would you ever want to use double opt-in? What are its benefits?

  • Increased Engagement is common because you know that the user really wants to sign up for your email list as they have both signed up initially and confirmed their signup.
  • Protection from spam addresses being added to your list. If a bot or fake email address is entered in the opt-in form, then it will not be added to your list until that email address is confirmed. This means a healthier email list that gives you more accurate statistics.
  • A great way to start drip campaigns for email marketing. For some of your content upgrades, you may want to deliver your content via email. This allows you to get a real email address where you can begin sending emails, and hopefully later convert that subscriber into a customer.

All of those things sound great, but are there any downsides?

Cons of using double opt-in
  • You are creating more steps for users to take to get your content, increasing the risk that the visitor may not complete the signup process. Perhaps they truly sign up but forgot to confirm their email or your confirmation email went into their SPAM folder.
  • The additional email required to confirm their subscription can increase the perception that your list is spammy. If you send a confirmation email, a welcome email, and the first weekly email for the user, then they can have 3 emails from you in a matter of days! It may seem annoying to see the confirmation email that they have to click on. Only to be followed by the welcome email a few seconds later.
  • You’re missing out on possible customers! I know this is represented in the first bullet, but it must be mentioned again. If your business depends on e-commerce, then every lost email address is potentially a lost sale. Only IF they happen to sign up and then confirm at some point in the future, will you be able to begin your email marketing with that visitor.

So which should you choose? We believe it depends on your business plan and marketing strategy. There is no perfect hard and fast rule.

How you can configure your OptinMonster campaign for single opt-in

The ability to enable single opt-in varies between every email service provider.

Some allow you to enable it without much hassle, while others have more restrictions, and some simply don’t allow you to enable single opt-in at all.

There are also some providers that have single opt-in enabled by default.

In the list below, we’ve linked to the guides to enable single opt-in if it is available. If single opt-in is not available, then we’ll leave a note beside the Email Service Provider.

Guides for Enabling Single Optin by Email Provider

(List Last Updated December 16, 2015)

The following guides are available for configuring single opt-in for each Email Service Provider we offer a native integration with.

NOTE: Some of these require you to use our Custom HTML integration to create a form through your Email Service Provider first, then embed that custom form within your OptinMonster campaign.
  • ActiveCampaign: By following this guide, under Opt-in confirmation email Tab header, you will see that you can disable the confirmation email. To quote them, “In addition, if you choose to not send a confirmation email, you can do so by unchecking the ‘Send confirmation email to verify contacts want to receive your email’ box.” Then you’ll get the form’s embeddable code and use our Custom HTML integration.
  • AWeber: Our AWeber guide can be found here.
  • Campaign Monitor: You can still use our native integration but change your list to single opt-in by following this Campaign Monitor guide.
  • Constant Contact: By default, your Constant Contact list is already single opt-in. This guide will show you how you can toggle your lists between single or double opt-in. You can still use our native integration with this.
  • ConvertKit: ConverKit says it is possible to enable single opt-in here, but there currently isn’t any documentation available to show its users how to change between single and double opt-in.
  • Customer.io: They are single opt-in by default. If you want double opt-in, then you would have to build that in yourself. I reached out to them on Twitter to confirm this. You can see that Customer.io is currently single opt-in by default here and here on their Twitter replies.
  • Drip: Possible, but no current documentation provided by the provider for easy set-up. While you can use their JavaScript API documentation to achieve modifying single or double opt-in, that doesn’t really apply for integrating with OptinMonster.
  • Emma: While Emma doesn’t have official documentation on enabling Single Opt-In versus Double Opt-In, they do have a forum post where an Emma Employee goes through the steps of effectively creating a single opt-in.
  • Feedblitz: Per their website as you can see here, here, and here, you cannot use Single Opt-In with Feedblitz. Sorry, folks.
  • Feedburner: By default, Feedburner depends on confirmed subscriptions (double opt-in) and there currently is not a way to have single opt-in.
  • GetResponse: You can disable double opt-in and use single opt-in for GetResponse by following their guide and video here.
  • HubSpot: HubSpot uses single opt-in by default, but you can enable double opt-in or toggle back and forth as your needs require by following their guide here.
  • iContact: to quote iContact, iContact has an opt-in strategy that is “Single by default, but they can be changed to double [opt-in] by adding a confirmation message to the form.”
  • InfusionSoft: InfusionSoft also uses single opt-in by default. However, if you would rather use double opt-in with InfusionSoft then you can follow their guide here.
  • Mad Mimi: Mad Mami defaults to single opt-in when using our native integration. When using our Custom HTML integration their generated webform defaults to double opt-in; to change the webform to single opt-in follow this guide.
  • MailChimp: You can use our native integration to use either single or double opt-in in MailChimp. Check out our guide here.
  • MailerLite: MailerLite defaults to double opt-in but you can use MailerLite with single opt-in with the click of a button. Check out their guide here.
  • MailPoet (Wysija): MailPoet also is a big fan of double opt-in and they use that as a default. But you can use MailPoet with single opt-in pretty easily by following their guide.
  • Marketo: Marketo doesn’t have any clear documentation available that shows you how to make your list single opt-in, however this blog post seems to imply that you can make your signups either single or double opt-in.
  • Pardot: Pardot is single opt-in by default, but they offer a variety of confirmation options up to full “double opt-in”. See their options here and how to confirm subscribers here.
  • SendinBlue: SendInBlue is single opt-in only if you’re using our native integration. You can still use double opt-in here by adding the webform you create following their guide to a Custom HTML integration or to a Canvas’ Custom HTML field.
  • TotalSend: While TotalSend encourages double opt-in, you can choose single opt-in by changing the option on your list. Check out this guide to learn how.

We hope you found this article helpful about single opt-in vs double opt-in. You may also like our article on 16 ways to get more email subscribers in less than 5 minutes.