Double Opt-In For Email Marketing

Double Opt-In Symbol

Double Opt-In Symbol


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Using the Double Opt-in For Your Contact List

When a customer signs up for a mailing list they can sign up through a single or double opt-in process. A single opt-in process simply requires the contact to submit their details to the system before they are added to the mailing list.

The double opt in process ensures that a subscriber to an email or newsletter list has both submitted their details, then confirmed them by clicking a link in a confirmation email. Many companies already use the double opt-in method when subscribing users to their mailing lists.

However, companies who have not already implemented double opt-in sign up forms need to implement them by the time GDPR is enforced in May 2018.

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Why is it needed?

Double opt-in is best practice for data collection where consent is needed when the General Data Protection Regulations come into effect in May 2018.

This will mean that all contacts are date and time stamped when they enter the database. Consent is not always required in situations where other legitimate interests exist for data collection. However, when consent is needed for data collection, the double-opt in will become mandatory.

The double opt-in process verifies the accuracy of the data that has been submitted in the sign-up form and ensures that the contact wants to be contacted by the company. The user fills in the form explicitly stating their consent to be signed up to the email list before receiving a confirmation email with a link they need to click.

Whereas companies have previously been able to buy purchased data to build their email lists, this is no longer permitted under GDPR. Although building an email list organically takes time, email campaigns which are sent to engaged email lists yield better results than those sent to large but uninterested recipients.

How does it work?

The double-opt in works by making a contact confirm their subscription to a mailing list after they have initially submitted their details. When a website visitor fills in a sign-up form on a website this is the first part of the opt-in process for list building.

In a double-opt in system, the contact then receives an email containing a confirmation link. When the user clicks this link, they complete the second part of the opt-in process. Contacts can also complete a preference centre form to verify the type of communication they want to receive but this is optional.

Benefits of Double Opt-In

As we have already mentioned, double opt-in ensures that your subscribers want to receive your emails.  This process forces users to take a positive action to subscribe to the mailing list.  Therefore, the implementation of a double opt-in process reduces the unsubscribe rates from email campaigns as users have chosen to receive email correspondence.

Companies also eliminate errors from the email collection process as any misspelled or erroneous emails which are submitted in a sign-up form will not be added to the contact database.

This is beneficial as the company’s sender score is penalised for email sends to erroneous, unengaged or misspelled email addresses. Instead, customers can resubmit the form with corrected data in cases where they do not receive a confirmation email.

The Downside to Double Opt-In

The one obvious downside to the double opt-in process is the reduction in number of subscriptions that a company will receive. Some potential subscribers who submit their details on the company’s sign up form may not confirm their subscription if they are not committed to the process.

Confirming your subscription to an emailing list through an email link is time consuming and in some cases, the user may not even realise that they need to confirm their subscription.

Also, some users who do wish to complete the sign-up process may not receive the confirmation email if it is delivered to their spam folder or if they submit erroneous data. However, this problem can be overcome by explaining the process to subscribers, setting the expectation that they will need to confirm their subscription in a confirmation email.

The newsletter sign-up form should contain information about the content that the user can expect to receive, the frequency they should expect to receive emails and should explain how the contact can opt out of the process at any stage.


Double opt-in needs to be in place for consent-based data processing by May 2018. Although the double opt-in process makes the sign-up stage slightly longer, you can be sure that your subscribers want to receive your emails and have submitted accurate and up-to-date data. Overall, we believe that this is a positive change for email marketers and will improve email marketing for both companies and customers in the long term.

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