Use subscription preferences and types

Last updated: January 31, 2019

Subscription types are designed to accurately capture your contacts' email subscription preferences. After you've set up your email subscription types, learn more about how to manage these subscription types for your contacts.

How subscription preferences and types work

Rather than relying solely on opt-out functionality, email subscription types capture three states to more clearly represent a contact's consent to communicate with your business.

For each subscription type, contacts may have any of the following three statuses:

  • Opted in
  • Not opted in or out (default)
  • Opted out 

Unless a contact explicitly requests to opt into a specific subscription type, they'll be added to your account with a Not opted in or out status. Subscription types can be assigned manually to individual contacts, in bulk from the contacts dashboard, or via API. The statuses for the assigned subscription types will be stored in the Communication subscriptions card on the left in each contact record.

Subscription types represent the lawful basis to communicate for a certain category of communications. Just like with lawful basis to process, the lawful basis to communicate could be consent, but it doesn’t have to be (for example, it might be performance of a contract, if the contact is a customer). If you’re manually applying lawful basis to a specific contact, you won’t just be choosing a subscription type; you’ll also be selecting a lawful basis to communicate.

If you have enabled GDPR functionality and have checked the Only allow marketing emails to be sent to contacts who have a legal basis to communicate, emails can only be sent to contacts who have an Opted in status. With GDPR enabled, your email preferences page will also be impacted. When a contact clicks the link at the bottom of a marketing email, the checkboxes for your subscription types will all be unchecked by default. 

If you have not enabled GDPR functionality, emails can be sent to contacts with an Opted in or a Not opted in or out status. Emails will not be delivered to contacts who have chosen to opt out of that subscription type, but contacts will still be able to receive email of the types they have not unsubscribed from. However, there is no way to change a contact's opt in status for a particular subscription type if GDPR is not enabled. When a contact visits your email preference page, the checkboxes for your subscription types will be checked by default. 

Please note: while GDPR features exist in HubSpot, your legal team is the best resource to give you compliance advice for your specific situation.

How to set up subscription preferences and types 

Email subscription types can be created and managed from your settings:

  • In your HubSpot account, click the settings icon settings in the main navigation bar.
  • In the left sidebar menu, click MarketingEmail.
  • Click the Types tab.
  • Click Create subscription type.
  • If you have enabled GDPR functionality in your account, use the dropdown menus to select or create a Process and Operation for this subscription type.process and operation
  • Enter a name and a brief description of how this subscription type will be used.
  • If this subscription type is currently active, select the This subscription type is active checkbox.
  • Click Save.


  • On theTypes tab, click a subscription type and drag and drop it to re-order your subscription types and control how they appear on your subscription preferences page. 
  • To make changes to a subscription type's information, hover over the type and click Edit. Make changes as needed, then click Save.

If you have global contacts, the Multi-Language Subscription Preferences Module from the marketplace allows you to display subscription preferences in a user’s preferred language, based on the language set in their browser settings.

How to manage contact properties for this subscription type

Once you've created a new subscription type, a corresponding opted-out contact property will be created called Opted out of email: [email type name].

While the property will be visible on a contact's record immediately, existing contacts will not have a value set for it until one of the following occurs:

  • The contact is merged with another contact.
  • The contact has its email address property changed.
  • The contact explicitly opts-in to or opts-out from that email type.
  • An integration (i.e., public API) explicitly marks the contact as opted-in to or opted-out from that email type.

Any changes to the email type will also be propagated to the corresponding contact property:

  • Renaming an email type will cause the corresponding property to be renamed.
  • Marking an email type as inactive will cause the corresponding property to be hidden from the contact record, and vice versa.