Klaviyo Shopify integration and ‘Accepts Marketing’

Klaviyo Shopify integration involves more than the syncing of order history. It also means the configuration of the custom property ‘Accepts Marketing’.

For a great many Shopify stores using Klaviyo, this is the biggest source of ‘Active Profiles’ in their Klaviyo account – by far.

If the newsletter optin box in your Shopify checkout is set to checked by default and you have synced Klaviyo to Shopify, email profiles with the ‘Accepts Marketing’ property could be anywhere between 50% and 90% of your total Active Profiles (ie. the ones you pay for).

Yet, very few store owners fully understand how this part of the Klaviyo Shopify integration works. Even fewer understand the potentially massive impact it can have on Klaviyo pricing or list reputation.

What is the ‘Accepts Marketing’ custom property?

When you look at the details of any email profile in Klaviyo, you may see a number of different Custom Properties within the Information section. A common one for Shopify stores is Accepts Marketing.

Accepts Marketing property

Although you’re viewing this information in Klaviyo admin, it actually originates as a Shopify custom property.

Essentially, this is Shopify’s newsletter ‘optin’ mechanism:

  • ‘True’ means the website visitor has said ‘yes’ to accepting marketing
  • ‘False’ implies they have said ‘no’.

Where do Shopify users opt in?

There are three locations on a Shopify store where users can trigger the Accept Marketing custom property. Although not all Shopify stores use all three methods.

1. Starting a Shopify checkout

The Shopify checkout starts with Customer or Contact Information. Entering an email address with the optin box checked will create a value of ‘true’ in the Accept Marketing property.

Shopify checkout contact information

Entering an email address with the optin box blank will create a value of ‘false’ in the Accept Marketing property.

2. Creating a Customer Account in Shopify

In Shopify, store owners have the option to enable customer accounts. For stores who choose to enable this, they can also include the option to ‘Subscribe to our Newsletter’.

As with the Shopify checkout, entering an email address with the optin box checked will create a value of ‘true’ in the Accept Marketing property.

Shopify customer account

Similarly, entering an email address with the optin box blank will create a value of ‘false’ in the Accept Marketing property.

3. Signing up to a newsletter using an embedded Shopify form

Almost every Shopify ecommerce store will have a newsletter sign up form embedded somewhere on the site. This is typically in the footer of every page.

If you are using Klaviyo, this should (arguably) be set up using Klaviyo forms. Others prefer to use third party tools for list growth, such as Justuno or SumoMe.

However, some stores still use the native sign up form which comes with their Shopify theme. In this instance, every sign up submission with an email address will automatically create a value of ‘true’ in the Shopify Accept Marketing property.

Embedded Shopify newsletter sign up form

Hopefully, this explains the origins the Accepts Marketing custom property. But what does Klaviyo do with this data?

Klaviyo Shopify integration

How Klaviyo uses the Accepts Marketing property depends entirely on how you configure Shopify in the Klaviyo integrations tab of your account.

Whether or not you tick the box to ‘Subscribe customers who Accept Marketing to a Klaviyo list‘ will have a significant impact on your Klaviyo account.

Klaviyo Shopify integration settings

Following is an outline of how Klaviyo handles either scenario.

Scenario 1: If you Subscribe customers who Accept Marketing

If you choose to tick the box, the following groups of customers will be automatically subscribed and included in any future emails to the selected Klaviyo List. Anyone who…

  1. Signed up to a newsletter list, using a Shopify embedded form
  2. Selected ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’ when creating a customer account in Shopify
  3. Started a checkout in Shopify, entered an email address and the optin box was ticked – regardless if they completed the checkout or not.

Since the customer profiles contain the custom property Accepts Marketing with a value of ‘true’, it would be reasonable to assume everything is going to be fine, right?

Spoiler alert: this is where it gets interesting…

Most store owners don’t realise there are several potential pitfalls to be aware of. And the devil is in the detail.

Scenario 1, Pitfall 1

None of these new subscribers will receive any double optin confirmation.

So, for subscribers added using a Shopify embedded newsletter sign up form, this is likely to result in…

  • Increased number of email addresses with typos
  • Increased exposure to spam emailers.

In either case, it means invalid email addresses and will impact your Klaviyo account in two ways:

  1. Likely to cause ‘suspicious emails’ and ‘send failures’ when you try to send a campaign, which may affect your list reputation
  2. You’ll be paying Klaviyo for invalid and potentially damaging email addresses (ie. wasting money).

Scenario 1, Pitfall 2

This depends on the configuration of the Shopify optin box in the checkout and the customer account set up.

If you follow Klaviyo’s ‘strong recommendation to leave these boxes unchecked by default, there should be no problem.

But the reality is most ecommerce stores can’t seem to resist the temptation to set the Shopify optin box as checked by default.

The problem with this approach is that you simply don’t know if people consciously chose to sign up, or just didn’t even notice the optin box.

I looked at 10 Klaviyo accounts synced to Shopify, where the optin box is checked by default.

On average, 80% of their total Active Profiles (ie. the ones they’re paying for) originated from Shopify’s Accept Marketing property (ie. may not have consciously signed up).

This should be a big concern for store owners.

Scenario 1, Pitfall 3

Both of the issues outlined above will be made worse if there is no appropriate Welcome flow for these sign up channels.

Welcome flows for new subscribers who have not yet placed an order are standard for almost all Klaviyo accounts. Many stores will invest significant time and effort creating and testing these Welcome flows.

But for the vast majority of stores, email subscribers added via the Accepts Marketing property will not receive any form of sign up confirmation or Welcome flow.

All of this leads to the problem of ‘passive subscribers’. You end up with a bunch of email subscribers who might not have even been aware of signing up.

Passive subscribers will react in various ways:

  • Unsubscribe
  • Ignore the emails – until automatically filtered to a spam folder
  • Some will report you for spam.

In the short term, a large proportion of passive subscribers will blow out the number of Active Profiles and impact costs.

In the longer term, low email engagement will begin to impact your ability to reach all inboxes going forward – even those who legitimately subscribed.

Scenario 2: If you do not automatically Subscribe

There are two further potential pitfalls to be aware of here.

Scenario 2, Pitfall 1

Anyone who has consciously opted in via Shopify will not be added to your subscriber list. So you miss valuable customer engagement.

Scenario 2, Pitfall 2

If you chose to leave the Shopify optin box checked by default…

  • You will end up with a large number of email profiles which have a value of ‘true’ against the Accepts Marketing property
  • But they will not actually be added to a Klaviyo List.

Again, this will blow out your Active Profiles number and may lead you to consider upgrading to a higher Klaviyo pricing plan when you don’t really need to.

Scenario 3: Those who abandon Shopify checkout

There is one other pitfall to be aware of. Visitors who start a Shopify checkout, but abandon after entering their email address, will still be synced to Klaviyo.

The value of their Accepts Marketing custom property will depend on how they leave the optin box in checkout:

  • Unchecked = ‘false’
  • Checked = ‘true’

So, if you have chosen to automatically subscribe customers who Accept Marketing, those with a value ‘true’ will still be added to your Klaviyo list – even though they did not complete the checkout!

Consider how someone might feel receiving a campaign email from a site which they haven’t purchased from and don’t recall ever signing up to. What would you do if you were them?

Those with the value ‘false’ will not be subscribed and should definitely not be sent campaign emails. However, they may still trigger flows and receive transactional emails like Abandoned Carts and Post-Purchases.

How to mitigate the pitfalls

The simple answer is to follow Klaviyo’s guideline to never configure the Shopify optin box to checked by default.

But make sure the Shopify integration in Klaviyo is set to automatically subscribe those customers who (consciously) Accept Marketing.

This will certainly avoid a number of the issues outlined above.

But here’s the thing…

By switching your Shopify configuration from ‘opt out’ to ‘opt in’ subscribers should be much more engaged. But growth will be slower…

  • If people going through a checkout don’t notice the optin box is already checked, they’re hardly likely to notice if it’s unchecked either
  • It’s hard to sell the benefits in 40-50 characters. The standard message is hardly inviting.

Maybe have your cake and eat it

An alternative, more pragmatic approach is to leave Shopify optin boxes checked by default and automatically subscribe all customers with the Accept Marketing property.

However, you should only do this if you are prepared to work through all the possible scenarios and create specific follow up flows for each. You must put in the time and effort to separate the wheat from the chaff.

With this approach, you should still enjoy rapid list growth and be able to maintain a clean, cost-effective list.

What is your experience? Do you know what percentage of your Active Profiles come from Accepts Marketing? Do you have a problem with passive subscribers?

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Related Klaviyo help centre documents:

Related Shopify help centre documents:

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2 thoughts on “Klaviyo Shopify Integration and Accepts Marketing”

  1. Thank you for the super helpful breakdown of the Klaviyo and Shopify integration of what ‘Accepts Marketing’ actually means. I’ve been going around in circles trying to figure it out and if I didn’t come across It in this post I would still have no idea!

    Hopefully in the future Klaviyo brings out a system where if someone has given consent everyone gets tagged the same. I think a lot of small agency’s or business owners would overlook this.

    Thanks again for the clarity! 🙂 I look forward to reading more posts.


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