Are Email OTP And Email Verification The Same?

Melissa AU Team | Australia, Email Verification | , , ,

When an individual creates an account with an e-commerce website, places an order or signs up for a newsletter, their email address is one of the basic details required. As part of the sign-up process, they must then enter an OTP sent to the email address to verify its existence and validity. This simple step goes a long way in fighting fraud and making online interactions safer. 

Today, anyone using the internet to make purchases is familiar with email OTPs. It raises the question – is email OTP synonymous with email verification?

What is Email OTP?

Email OTP (One-Time Password) is typically a numeric or alphanumeric string sent to the registered email address to authenticate a service.

When someone tries to access an account or perform an online transaction, the network server’s authentication manager generates an OTP using one-time password algorithms. This OTP is sent in plain text and typically reaches the recipient within a few seconds. The recipient must then enter the OTP on the website for authentication. This process is typically time sensitive. Each OTP is valid for a single session and becomes invalid after a given time.

Email OTP may also be seen as a form of 2-factor authentication. One of the most common uses of an OTP is to reset passwords. A study found that 78% of the respondents had to reset their passwords in 3 months.

Email OTP vs Email Verification

Email OTP can be considered a form of email verification when it comes to new sign-ups. It authenticates that the email account is valid, deliverable and owned by the person registering it. It can now be used to send newsletters and promotional emailers. However. Relying on Email OTP alone is not enough to categorize email addresses as verified.

It wouldn’t be fair to expect customers to be willing to enter an OTP every few months to keep their accounts active. Many are likely to unsubscribe if they had to do this. On-demand OTP delivery is also not recommended by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) since the mere ability to receive email OTPs does not guarantee possession of the account.

What is Email Verification?

Email verification is the process of authenticating emails listed in a database. The aim here is to identify and remove invalid, incorrect, incomplete and undeliverable email addresses and maintain a clean email list.

Verifying emails in a mailing list involves comparing the given emails with those listed in reliable third-party databases. This verifies that the email address is valid and linked to the registered account holder. Email verification also checks the syntax of the email, the domain name and completeness. Email addresses such as john@@gmail.com or john @gmial.com will be flagged. Simple errors may be corrected by the system itself. You can also set up your email verification service to weed out disposable and role-based email addresses such as sales@XYZcompany.com. 

Emails must be verified when they are added to the database as well as from time to time while they are in the database. Email databases degrade at a rate of 22.5% annually.

People often abandon their email addresses without updating their accounts. Others may have registered an account with their corporate email address and later switched jobs thereby making their email address invalid.

Why is email verification required?

Email verification keeps your mailing list pruned and plays a critical role in maintaining a high-quality database.  The benefits are many.

• Lower bounce rate

Having a clean database with verified email addresses improves deliverability and ensures that your emails are delivered to the intended recipient. It reduces the risk of hard bounces and, in turn, protects your reputation as a sender. Your IP address will not be associated with spam and the risk of being blacklisted is lowered too.

• Better campaign metrics

Today, marketing is all about data. If you can increase your deliverability rate and minimize the bounce rate, the data about your marketing campaigns will be more accurate and reliable. You will get a better idea of what works and what doesn’t. This empowers you to make more informed decisions about future marketing campaigns

• Better ROI

Though sending an email is free, there is a certain cost associated with every campaign. There’s a design cost, the cost of the marketing software being used, email service providers (ESPs) and so on. Having invalid email addresses in your mailing list will reduce your open rates, click-through rates, website traffic, conversion rates, etc. In a nutshell, it brings down the ROI you expect from your marketing campaigns. But, cleaning up your email list can optimize this ROI.

• Better customer relationships

A customer placed an order but the confirmation email went to an old, invalid account. The customer had a query but since you have the wrong email on file, the query couldn’t be linked with the right product/order and your customer ended up not getting an answer on time. This can be avoided simply by verifying email addresses. It helps you create relevant content, improves the brand perception and keeps your customers loyal to the brand.

Maintaining a Verified Email Address Book

Using unverified emails affects your brand reputation, and customer relationships and has monetary ramifications. Ideally, you need to verify email addresses when they are entered into your database, once every 2 weeks and before sending out each emailer campaign. This ensures that your mailing list stays updated and emails reach the intended recipients.

It isn’t a task you need to perform manually. That would be almost impossible. Instead, you need to use an email verification tool.

There are many options available today. Choose an email address verification tool that can validate emails in real-time, parse and standardize emails according to a pre-set format, check for common errors like misspelled domains, verify domain names against a known database, ensure deliverability by pinging the email addresses and maintain compliance with privacy laws. Start today and the benefits will be evident in no time.