Email marketers face daily challenges: how to increase open rates, how to ensure good click-through rates, how to prevent too many unsubscribes, and more. There are a range of answers to these questions and sometimes what works well for one company won’t perform as well for another organization. One business may come up with a strategy to improve open rates, while it won’t move the needle at all for a different company. Nowhere is this complexity more true than in answers to the question as to whether single or double opt-ins result in more conversions.
Single opt-in is when an email subscriber only has to say yes once, or take one action, to receive your email newsletter. For example, they see a sign-up form on a page of your website, enter their email address and click “sign me up!” They are now registered to receive your emails, without doing anything else–that’s single opt-in.
Double opt-ins require confirmation. After they click the “sign me up!” button, they receive an email to verify that they want to start receiving your newsletter. This confirmation email will have a link they need to click to confirm that yes, they really want to start receiving your e-news.
Single vs. Double Opt-ins for Conversions
As far as conversions go, there are pros and cons to both methods of email signup. The biggest advantage to single opt-in is the fact that fewer steps for customers equal a greater likelihood they will finish whatever process you’d like them to do. As GetResponse reports, “every time you add an extra step to any process, your conversion rate goes down.” This holds true whether you’re trying to interest people in your email newsletter or trying to attract them to purchase products. The more steps they have to take to complete an action, the less likely they will finish.
The general marketing wisdom is that if you use single opt-in, you will get between 20-30% more subscribers. In an interesting example reported by Clickz, the Cirque du Soleil lost 20% of people who said they were interested in their email news because that group of leads failed to click the confirmation link during the double opt-in process. 20-30% can be a lot of subscribers. So if you use single opt-in, it’s likely you will gain a higher number of subscribers, which could mean a higher number of conversions.
On the other hand, double opt-in has advantages too. Sure, you’ll get more subscribers faster with single opt-in, but will they be quality subscribers who are genuinely interested in your brand? If they have to click a link to confirm that yes, they really do want to receive your email news, they are already in a group of customers who are more engaged with your messaging. Higher engagement can definitely lead to more conversions.
Also, double opt-in subscribers are less likely to report your emails as spam, according to OptInMonster. The more often your emails are marked spam, the lower your deliverability rates will be. With double opt-in, people are far more likely to recall that they are in fact interested in your news and signed up for your email. With single opt-in, they may forget they clicked “yes, sign me up!” and mark your email as spam.
As you can see, both methods of email signup offer advantages. If you’re trying to build your list quickly, perhaps try using single opt-in for a time. Then, when you have a subscriber base that’s engaging with your message, it might be time to switch to double opt-in to raise the quality of your audience and maintain your deliverability.
Alternatively, you can choose double opt-in from the start. Each organization will see different results from each approach. As with most digital marketing strategies, sometimes you will find what works best by testing each one.