Ultimate Guide to Single Optin vs. Double Optin – Which One is Better?

Have you ever wonder 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 what is the difference between single opt-in vs double opt-in, the pros and cons of each, and instructions on how to configure single opt-in for your email service provider.

What is the Difference between Single Opt-In vs. Double Opt-In?

The main difference between single versus 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 user only needs to submit their email address to a signup form one time. There is no need to confirm their sign up. As soon as the user signs up, he or she is immediately added to the email list.

What is Double Opt-In?
Double Opt-In is when a user needs to confirm their sign up for an email list. This means that when a user subscribes to an email newsletter on your website, they are sent a confirmation email where they must click a button or a link that confirms their desire to be added to an email list. Only after this confirmation is the user officially added to email list.

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

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

Pros of using Single Opt-In:

  • 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 in single opt-in.

Ok 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.
  • Some countries and jurisdictions have stricter privacy laws, so please consult with your lawyers if you have any questions.

Pros and Cons of using Double Opt-In

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

Pros of using Double Opt-In:

  • 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 addresses 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.

Ok 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, thereby risking 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.
  • Has a risk of seeming spammy to begin with. 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. This of course varies by users.
  • 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 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. Is it worth the risk for your business?

So which should you choose? While MailChimp would encourage you to use double opt-in based on their stats, I would argue that it really depends on your business plan and marketing strategy.

How you can configure your OptinMonster optin for Single Opt-In

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

Some allow you to enable it without much hassle, while others have more restrictions such as enable only via API, and some simply don’t allow you to enable single opt-in.

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 for each of our Current Integrations (List Last Updated December 16, 2015)

Please note that some of these require you to use our Custom HTML integration where you create a form first on your Email Service Provider’s site, then embed your custom form on your optin in OptinMonster.

  • 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: By default, MadMami via our Native Integration is single optin. If you wish to have double optin instead, you will need to use our Custom HTML or Canvas option instead and embed a Mad Mimi form. In these situations where you get embed code from Mad Mimi for the Custom HTML options, the embed code should be Double Optin by Default. Related Mad Mimi Documentation.
  • 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 optins here.
  • SendinBlue: SendInBlue is single opt-in by default, but you can switch to double opt-in if you want. Check out point #2 on their guide.
  • 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.

If you liked this article, then please consider following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Kevin Gates is on our Technical Support team, where he also writes user documentation and manages affiliates. In his free time, he seeks to expand his web development capabilities and he often volunteers for the Charis Foundation or he is learning Romanian.

Comments

  1. In EU based countries, double optin is becoming mandatory, so if you are based in Europe you will need the double optin.

    1. Thank you for sharing, Sarah.

    2. That’s not true at all

  2. That’s insightful. On my cupcakes blog, I have single opt-in because my readers are not used to list subscribing and other “internet” things. But on my other IT blogs, I use double opt-in.
    Looks like I made the right decision. Thanks for pointing pros and cons of each.

    1. Hi Angelica,

      Do you find that your final conversion %s are much different between the two?

  3. Good summary. Double opt-in also has the advantage of giving site owners the “confirmation request” landing page as a spot to mention the automatic Gmail promotional filtering issue. Subscribers who use Gmail may not know to look (and hopefully move) emails from the Promotions tab.

    1. Brent,

      That’s great advice. Site owners who will take advantage of the Confirmation Request landing page to do what you’ve said will see a better confirmation rate, for sure. And, it also gives them yet another opportunity to share a bit of their personality on that page whether through a video, copy or graphics.

      1. Yes indeed! I do the same for my own confirmation landing page and for my clients. Thanks Angie.

  4. Great post, thanks for sharing. In regards to double optin I advise most customers to stay away from that, since you will lose 10-20-30 percent of your subscribers, and if you pay to get them in… than you might lose a lot of money.

    At every 1000 people you could get 200 more…

    People just miss the first confirmation email sometimes. And if you are scared of spam emails, just spend a few hours every month cleaning your list or get someone else to do that for you.

    1. Great suggestion to clean your list frequently if you’re using the single optin, Radu.

    2. Hey Radu I like the advice on cleaning your list with single optin. I’m finding that people are signing up but not all are confirming with my double optin form. My audience isn’t super tech savy so I understand whey they don’t confirm.

      I think I’m going to change it single but in the past I got some fake emails. How do you go about cleaning your list. Remove people that don’t open your emails in the last X amount of days? If so how many days is good?

      Thanks!

  5. Which is the best free email service which gives single opt in ?

    1. Best is relative to your needs. IF you are using something like OptinMonster, then you can use MailChimp’s Free pricing tier and then have people sign up via OptinMonster because we connect through their API.

  6. We have double opt-in for our newsletter (and they get my ebook as a thank you for subscribing). A friend says that is wrong – either they are subscribing or they are getting the ebook. But I see it all the time so it’s confusing.

    Also I am considering requiring contact info for a downloadable price list. Not sure if I keep that as a separate list or not. And what I can do with it. If they are just downloading the pricelist but not subscribing, what can I do with that info? Legally and ethically. One could argue that it is a form of inquiry (but it feels a bit like justification)

    For example:
    I found this on hubspot: http://offers.hubspot.com/getting-started-content-marketing

    They have a checkbox to subscribe to their blog and a checklist for more information. I assume both checkboxes add subscribers to two different lists. But if they don’t check either, do they go to a third list? They do state what they will do with your contact info:
    “By supplying your contact information, you authorize HubSpot and/or Scoop.it to contact you with further information. You further authorize HubSpot to pass your information to Scoop.it for these purposes.”

    From the visitor perspective, it would be weird to supply your contact info for the ebook (without checking either box) and then get a double opt-in asking if you want to be subscribed.

    I could see using a double optin as a way to confirm a real email address but how do you explain that they are now on a list. Or do you not remind them that they have been added to a list?

    Any perspectives on this are welcome.

    1. Mary Fernandez
      Mary Fernandez May 9, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Hi Rhys,

      You may want to read our Ultimate Guide to Single Optin vs. Double Optin to help you decide which is better for you. It’s really a personal decision, and there are pros and cons of each.

      Personally, here’s how I do it: When someone opts in to one of my free downloads, they are immediately redirected to the page with their download. Because I do single opt-in, they don’t have to confirm their email address. After they opt in, I send them emails that I think they will love based on what they downloaded. So for instance, if someone downloaded my Facebook Ads Mini Course, then I will send them further content related to advertising. Others who opted in for my Guest Blogging Index will receive emails related to blogging. We have a post coming up about segmenting your email list, so stay tuned for that.

      If you want to keep the double opt-in, here’s how I would do it (so that it’s not weird from a user perspective): the visitor opts in for your eBook, they receive an email asking them to confirm their email address, and only once they have confirmed their email address do they get the download.

      Does that help?

  7. I use Mailchimp. I did what you said and did not click “enable double opt-in” or “send final welcome email”. Yet, the double opt-in still remains. I have the correct API code, etc. Any thoughts?

  8. hi, can i check with you…i started with single opt in for a while and has more than 900 email subscribers.

    Is it advisable to change to double opt in going forward and wouldn’t it be weird if i cannot address my previous 900 subscribers by their first name?

    e.g. Hi (single opt-in) vs Hi James (double opt-in)

    Look forward to your response.

    Thanks,
    James

    1. Sharon Hurley Hall June 19, 2017 at 9:00 am

      Hi James, the jury’s out on which one is better. Most stats show that being able to use people’s names makes them more engaged with your email, and double opt in is recommended by many email marketing providers. Perhaps the answer is to use progressive profiling, which allows you to collect more information after the person has signed up. So, if you send information on a lead magnet to your subscribers, you could ask for their name in the download form. Hope this helps. 🙂

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