How many users confirm their email addresses?

16 Sep 2010 - 4:20pm
3 years ago
5 replies
1413 reads
Jeff Kraemer
2009

Hi all,

I'm looking for stats or anecdotal evidence (yeah, I said it) regarding email verification--that is, you register and a site says your registration will be complete once you click a link they've sent you. The purpose, of course, is to confirm that the user's email address is valid.

If you work(ed) at a site that practices email verification, how many users actually clicked the link you sent? In other words, how many users did not complete registration because of the email verification step?

Comments

16 Sep 2010 - 5:30pm
ReactionGears
2010

I've built many social and community websites. I would say about for every 15-20 new users there would be 1 that wouldn't activate their account.

Honestly if you have a good captcha you don't need the e-mail verification. It's hassel enough to get people on your site and many lose interest quickly... if they have to go to their e-mail some lose motivation or get distracted by something else or even another e-mail.

I say unless it's an e-commerce or banking type website, kill it... none of my sites use it anymore. One being http://www.theBrokenApple.com

 

17 Sep 2010 - 2:14am
kamaksh
2010

i am working with a website for online gaming for UK and US users. they say that 80% of their user click on the confirm link and authenticate sign up.

17 Sep 2010 - 9:26am
krystaylor
2010

Respectfully, I disagree with ReactionGears.

Confirming email and captcha are used for two different purposes.  I ask you to complete a captcha so I know you're not a robot.  (I could speak volumes about the un-usability of captchas, too)  I ask you to confirm your email address so I know you're not signing someone else up for a service.

I would carefully question the need for email verification.  If you have a good (not spammy) service, people are going to sign up with a valid email.  These are people who are registering for your site - they are expressing interest and telling you they WANT to hear from you.  If you have a spammy service, or one that tricks or forces people to register - they might register with a disposable email address just to get what they want from you, and then the email goes away.  Email verification doesn't prevent this.

There are good uses for email verification.  It's best practice for newsletter subscriptions.  I'm not saying don't use it, I'm just saying think VERY carefully about what purpose it serves.

That said, upwards of 80% of users will click that link.  Some will not find the email because it gets bumped to the spam filter.  Some will not understand what to do when they get the email.  Some will get tired of waiting for the email to arrive and will go sign up with your competitor.  Some will never get the email.  Some typoed their email address when they registered with you, and will come back asking for their account.  But if you're adhering to the 80/20 rule, you're just fine when it comes to email verifications.

Do make sure that call to action is on its own line in the verification email, though.  And keep the email short, sweet and to the point.  :>

-Krys Taylor, Director of UX:  Caring.com

17 Sep 2010 - 1:57pm
ReactionGears
2010

Krys,

You're right, I could have been more clear... I guess if your reason for the e-mail link is to slow down spamers the captcha works fine. But the e-mail link does serve it's purpose in case such as newsletters etc...

21 Sep 2010 - 3:20pm
Jeff Kraemer
2009

Thanks for your replies, everyone. Sounds like you've all run into an 80-ish percent verification rate.

Our intention in using email verification is to ensure that the user is not signing someone else up or, for that matter, using a fake email address. We don't have a spammy service, so I'm not too concerned about the latter. My main concern is that boosting security (small-s security, but still...) by requiring email verification will reduce registration, and prevent some users from taking full advantage of the site's features. Security and usability, tripping over each other as usual.

We're looking at raising the verification rate by reminding the user, when she tries to take advantage of certain email-related features, that she needs to verify her email address. That adds complexity to the design, and will likely irritate some users. But in balance it seems like the best solution right now.

Have you run into an approach like that elsewhere? What did you think of it?

 

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