Do you want more user signups?
Well… a signup isn’t complete until new users confirm their email.
And there’s a little-known way to increase your confirmation rates by 7%.
It’s called the “Sniper Link” technique:
So if you’re looking to improve your onboarding (and generate more signups), you’ll enjoy the actionable tips in this new guide.
Let’s dive right in.
(P.S. Don’t have time to read the whole thing? Grab the cheat sheet.)
Between 27% and 61% of your new users will never confirm their email.
There are 3 main reasons for this:
Luckily, we found a tactic that addresses those three issues.
In fact, it increased our email confirmation rates to 94%.
It’s called the Sniper Link technique.
A Sniper Link is a special link that makes it easier for new users to confirm their email after a signup. It typically simulates an inbox search, which minimizes distractions while leading users to the inbox of their email service provider detected on signup.
With Sniper Links, your new users will only see YOUR confirmation email in their inbox, nothing else. It works even if you landed in their spam.
This onboarding technique was coined by Dan Benoni in 2019.
Sniper Links work by showing a customized link based on the email service provider (ESP) detected from a user’s signup. Complete Sniper Links simulate a search query in the user’s email provider inbox that will only show your business’ confirmation email, even if you were to land in the spam folder.
Here’s an example of Sniper Link for Gmail users:
This URL will simulate a search like this:
Let’s break down each part of the URL:
1d, you could also use
1hfor the last hour). This parameter is especially useful when your system relies on “Magic Links” because people receive several login emails from your domain.
Obviously, these are the search parameters for Gmail. But every email service provider has its own system. See below for the full breakdown.
Some ESPs support more Sniper Link features than others. Here’s a summary:
We ran a split-test experiment using Mixpanel.
Now, let’s say your company is making $12M/year. A conversion rate improvement of just 1% that early in your onboarding funnel could mean +$120,000/yr for your business. So it’s worth considering.
Creating a Sniper Link requires three steps:
When a user signs up, you first need to identify the email service associated with their address. You can do that in four different ways:
|Option A: Email parsing||Easy||Low||Free|
|Option B: Email validation service||Medium||High||~$0.003/email|
|Option C: Email enrichment||Medium||Medium||~$0.08/email|
|Option D: Manual lookup||Hard||Medium||Free|
Let’s cover each one step-by-step.
There are two main reasons to opt for this option:
For example, this would be a starting point for detecting some Gmail users:
@gmail") || email.includes("
The only problem is that unless you’re a DTC/B2C consumer app, many of your signup emails will use custom domains (e.g.,
firstname.lastname@example.org). In that case, you’ll need to use options B, C, or D below.
If you’re like most established products, your forms probably already use an email validation service. These services protect your email list when spam bots try to overwhelm your signup forms.
But, some of those email validation services provide additional features.
One of them is the email service provider associated with an email address.
g-suite, for business emails using GSuite (e.g., email@example.com)
microsoftfor Outlook (e.g., @outlook.com, @live.com, or businesses on O365)
yahoofor Yahoo mail (e.g., @yahoo.com, etc.)
For Protonmail you can check if
mx_record === "mail.protonmail.ch".
These values allow you to display a custom Sniper Link for each case.
If you don’t use an email validation service, but you already use an email enrichment service like Clearbit, you could always use that instead.
For example, Clearbit’s API returns a field named
company_tech that contains values like
outlook, etc. From there, you can match the email service provider just like we explained in step B.
Note that Clearbit is roughly 27 times more expensive than ZeroBounce for this use case. So this is probably not the most cost-efficient approach.
I’d only recommend this approach if:
In this case, you could create some code or use a DNS resolver library that automatically looks up the email server information of new signups.
Here are some link examples of resources:
From there, you can generate the appropriate links for each provider. Here are some examples below. Make sure to replace the code variables and insert your sender email:
|💻 Desktop||📱 Mobile (iOS)|
/u/0/ part of the Protonmail URL refers to the first user account. For example if someone has two accounts linked to their Protonmail session (e.g.
firstname.lastname@example.org accessed through
email@example.com accessed through
/u/1/ ), this will only retrieve the first account. You could use an URL like
https://mail.proton.me/switch to allow the person to pick their account, but by doing this, you lose the “From filter” and “Spam piercer” features.
Finally, on the page you show users after their signups, instead of passively writing “Check your inbox” as most companies do, you can display your Sniper Link based on the email service identified in Step #2: Scope.
Tadaaa 🎉! Now people will land directly on your email without being distracted, which is quicker for them and better for your onboarding funnel.
Less than 1% of onboardings use Sniper Links (few people know about them).
So, if you want to see an example of Sniper Link in action, your best options are:
P.S. saw a Sniper Link example in the wild? Email us here. We’ll add it to the list.