Double or Single Opt-In: The Pros and Cons

opt-in

opt-in With a “Single” opt-in, your visitor gets subscribed to your list instantly and gains immediate access to your Freemium (if you have one) when they enter their email. For a “Double” opt-in, the visitor goes through an additional step of clicking a link in an email to verify their address before being added to your list and gaining access to your Freemium. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each one so you can make an informed decision on which one is right for you.

The Single Opt-In

Pros

  • Subscribers get immediate access to your Freemium
  • There are no extra actions or clicks. They are subscribed instantly without needing to confirm.
  • It is simpler to setup.

Cons

  • There’s no way to verify a mis-typed email
  • Anyone can enter a fake email and still get your freemium
  • The open rates of your future mailings may be skewed by fake or mis-typed emails

The Double Opt-In

Pros

  • Asking for an email confirmation helps ensure you get a real address
  • The confirmation page is an opportunity to assure your audience that you won’t be spamming them and what they can expect from your future emails.
  • The confirmation page is a great way to make sure they didn’t mis-type their email or miss your confirmation by asking them to check their inbox. Also, a reminder to check their spam folder is a good way to make sure they white list your email address.

Cons

  • Some users don’t check email often (especially younger generations) so they may not go back and confirm right away or they may forget who you are by the time they do get around to visiting their inbox.
  • If your target audience gets distracted easily, they may forget to check their inbox and your confirmation may get lost in the shuffle.
  • You will need to create a verification email and a confirmation page that reminds them to check their email and click that verification link. It’s just a little bit of extra work for you.

How To Choose

When deciding which opt-in option (say “opt-in option” 3 times fast) is right for you, take a look at the online habits of your target audience. If they have a short attention span, go for the single. You might even consider grabbing their phone number for text updates in addition to email. If you’re concerned about fake emails, just prune your list a bit more often by removing subscribers who haven’t opened your messages in over 6 months.

If your Freemium has significant value, the double opt-in is usually the smarter move. People will go to the extra effort of confirming their email if they know they’re getting something that’s worth the extra step. Also, if your Freemium is targeted towards a specific group of people, the double opt-in will help you better qualify the leads.

Summary: There is no right or wrong answer. Look at your audience and go with your first instinct. You can always switch it later so don’t be afraid to try both and compare results.

One Caveat: Some email list providers require that you use a double opt-in. If you think the single opt-in is the one for you, make sure your list provider will allow it. Our favorite, MailChimp, allows both single and double opt-ins.

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