Should I Use Double Opt In? [5 Reasons Why Single Opt In is Best]

Written by Michael Cheney. Posted on 22nd February 2021

Should I Use Double Opt In?If you're building an email list you might ask: Should I use double opt in? Not if you can avoid it, here are 5 reasons why...

Disclaimer - I'm not a legal expert, I'm an email marketing expert, so please bear in mind...

Your geographical area, place of jurisdiction or field of business may require you to have double opt in.

Consult a lawyer. 😉

I'm not a lawyer but I do know what works best, from an email marketing point of view.

I've built highly-profitable, email lists, hundreds of thousands of subscribers strong, all with single optin.

But there is a right way, and a wrong way, to go about this...

I'll get into the specifics in a second, but first, here's the fast answer if you're in a hurry;

Should I Use Double Opt In?

No - here are 5 reasons why you should not use double opt in;

  1. Double Opt In Does Not Make You GDPR Compliant
  2. Your List Will Be Much Smaller (and Not Necessarily More Responsive)
  3. It's Not the Best Way to Qualify Leads
  4. It Slows Down the Growth of Your Email List
  5. All The Initial Emails Can Annoy Your Subscribers

Now it's time into all the meaty details of each of these reasons to look at the data, the conclusions and the alternative methods to building a responsive, profitable email list, quickly...

0. What is Double Opt In?

There are two ways you can build an email list;

#1. Using single opt in where people enter their email address into a form and they are instantly on your email list;

Single Opt In Example

#2. Using double opt in, where people have to enter their email address, then CONFIRM their email address inside their inbox. Only then are they added to your email list;

Double Opt In

It might appear obvious which method would get you most-qualified, and most-responsive email list, but the answer is not quite as straightforward as it seems.

I'm going to bust open some of the myths and misunderstandings about double opt in for you right now...

1. Double Opt In Does Not Make You GDPR Compliant

GDPR Compliant"But if I go double-opt in, and get people to confirm their email subscription, I will be compliant with the European GDPR laws."

Bzzzzt, wrongo!

As one of the leading autoresponder companies, Getresponse states;

"Double or single opt-in on their own don’t guarantee GDPR compliance because they’re not enough to prove consent. They also won’t help you track, consent from your contacts."

It sounds bizarre, but just because someone clicked a confirm link in an initial email, doesn't mean that have given their consent.

Sure - your subscribers will have jumped through an extra hoop BUT...

As my 20+ years of online marketing experience has shown me;

"The more hoops you make people jump through, the less people will actually jump."

Even something as simple as just clicking from one page to the next always sees a massive drop-off rate.

You might argue that double optin will get you more-responsive leads, but this is not exactly true...

2. Your List Will Be Much Smaller (and Not Necessarily More Responsive)

Subscribe Opt In FormThe big argument for double opt in is that it gets you a more-responsive email list.

The argument makes sense (in theory);

If people have taken the extra step to confirm their subscription - they will be more likely to take action and read your emails.


While this may be true, just think about the numbers here for a sec;

Not everyone will confirm their email address.

According to Litmus, upto 40% of people just won't bother to click confirm in that first email.


That is a huge drop-off rate.

"Imagine just losing 40% of your subscribers right out of the gate - it's terrifying isn't it?"

Unconfirmed EmailsSo while the people who do take that extra confirmation step might, arguably, be more-engaged, you're sacrificing 40% of your opt ins in order to get to this position.


Imagine putting all that hard work into creating the best lead magnets  and using the best landing pages, only to find 40% of your subscribers are just tossed in the garbage because they don't click that confirmation email.

Is it really worth it?

No matter what you do - non-openers and no-clickers will still be present on your list, regardless.

I personally think it's a much smarter approach to get as many people on your list as possible first.

Then, after you have them on the list, start qualifying them based on the actions they take.

Put simply - double opt in is not an efficient way to get people to self-select and state they are interested...

3. It's Not the Best Way to Qualify Leads

Opt In WebsiteIt doesn't matter if you go single opt in or double opt in - the same thing is going to happen;

Your subscribers are going to confirm their interest (or lack of it) with the actions they take.

The question is;

Do you want subscribers to confirm their interest by clicking a confirmation email?

Or would you rather get them to confirm their interest by clicking through to your content or offer?

Either way - you are getting your subscribers to confirm that they are really interested in receiving your emails.

I know which way I choose!

"This is why I've built lists of 100,000s over the past 20 years and never once asked people to double opt in."

Valid Email AddressYou might be worried about people entering dummy, junk email addresses just to get your freebie.


Most autoresponders (I use Getresponse) will auto-check that an email is valid before adding it to your list.

And even for those that don't - as long as you set up your opt in process in the right way, you can overcome this.

The best way is not to deliver your promised-freebie right on the thank you page (this is open to abuse, and gets lower email response).

The best way is to show people, on the thank you page, how they can find your freebie in their email inbox.

This way, they can only get it, if they actually enter a valid email address.

This is, itself, a very cool way to get people to confirm their intent without sending them those pointless and annoying "confirm your email" emails...

What's more, using double opt in is not a smart move because;

4. It Slows Down the Growth of Your Email List

Slow as a SnailAs you've seen - upto 40% of your subscribers may fail to confirm their email.

Money loves speed.

The quicker you can grow your mailing list and put valuable content then offers in front of this list, the quicker you will be bringing profits into your business.

If you're losing almost half of all your subscribers before they even see a single email from you, you'll be operating at a snail's pace.

It's very easy to avoid this with single opt in.

You get someone on your list without the need for a confirmation.

In your very first email you give them the digital freebie you promised them.

You possibly also encourage them to reply to your email to boost your email engagement rate.

"Keep delivering value, and occasional offers, in the first few days of them joining your email list, and monitor what is happening."

You look at the stats in your autoresponder and just clear out the dead wood.

Get rid of anyone who is just not engaging.

You can sort by "last click date" and even pin-point subscribers who have never clicked or never opened.

Don't get hooked on the ego-ride of thinking a big list is impressive.

It's not, it's stupid (unless everyone is clicking).

You should be cleaning out your email list at least once a month to get rid of unresponsive leads.

This way you can grow a RESPONSIVE email list quickly because;

You're putting more people onto the list by not asking them to confirm AND you are simultaneously weeding out the unresponsive leads using your autoresponder cleaning routine.

Another reason you should avoid double opt in is;

5. All The Initial Emails Can Annoy Your Subscribers

Follow Up EmailsWe've all been there...

You opt in to someone's email list to get the cool freebie and you're instantly hit with;

"Check your inbox to confirm your email"

Jeez. Didn't I just do that?

So you click it.

Then what happens?

You get ANOTHER email to confirm that you confirmed!

This is confirming you are on the list.

And THEN, you get yet another email - finally, the actual content email with the freebie in.

This is going to annoy some people.

Heck, it annoys me!

"Imagine the trust, rapport and pre-sales work you could achieve with those first three email communications instead of all those confirmation emails?"

And - you can simultaneously be weeding out the non-responders from your list yourself.

Hopefully you are starting to see the light here...

Going single opt in is the best way to go if you want to grow a big list, fast.

But you need to make sure you follow the steps on this page to do it in the right way.


You asked;

Should I use double opt in?

You should be able to see now why this is not the best idea;

It doesn't guarantee GDPR compliance, it gives you a smaller list, there are better ways to qualify leads, your list will grow really slowly and you could annoy subscribers.

Now download this kick-ass freebie below (and no, you won't be asked to confirm your email address!);


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