We are always striving to boost conversion rates and encourage users to engage more.
Forward-looking businesses are using social login, also known as social sign-on, to do just that.
For the uninitiated, social login allows users to access websites using their existing social account IDs, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Not only can it enhance the user’s experience on your site—no need to fill out a registration form or remember yet more password—it also allows marketers to gather more accurate data, including verified email addresses, age, gender, relationship status, and interests.
If you are considering including social login in your marketing strategy, take a look at my top nine things every marketer should know about it.
1. 86% of users report being bothered by having to create new accounts on websites
A report from Gigya revealed that the leading reason people use social authentication is to avoid having to fill out online registration forms. Other reasons include not wanting to remember another username and password, and using the same identity on multiple websites.
In other words, potential customers are often put off by the effort to fill out a form, and may even leave the checkout process altogether.
Data fields on Society6 checkout are far from atypical, but users are increasingly disenchanted with these time-consuming forms.
In fact, 54% of users said they may actually leave a website and go to another rather than complete an individual registration form, according to a survey conducted by Blue Research.
One of the many things I’ve learned about users’ online behavior here at LoginRadius is that the younger demographic not only expect a seamless web experience, they know full well it’s available and are irritated if websites don’t offer that.
Estimates as to the average number of passwords users currently have to remember vary from around seven to 30—in one survey, 70% of respondents reported having more than 10 password-protected accounts online. We can assume so-called ‘password fatigue’ will only get worse.
Of course, I’m a total social login fan, but at least offering your users a choice between filling out a registration form and signing up using their social account IDs seems like straightforward business sense.
2. 77% of users believe social login is a good registration solution…
…and should be offered by any website, according to the aggregated research published by WebHostingBuzz.
The number of visitors directly correlates to revenue—whatever business you are in.
Whether you make money through sales or ads, you always need more user engagement on your website.
On top of that, if your registration process might actually be driving users to other websites, it would be wise to do what you can to stop people heading to your competitors.
Let me be straight, I’m in no way claiming that every user wants to sign-on with their social account IDs. We know that older users in particular are more cautious about the information they share and are less likely to opt to use social sign-on.
Take a look at the chart below:
Some companies have found that while social login dramatically reduced the number of failed login attempts and password reset requests, take up wasn’t as high as expected.
Mailchimp, a B2B email marketing platform, recorded a 66% drop in failed logins after introducing social login. Impressive, but since only 3.4% of their users signed in using social login, they decided to tweak their traditional registration form and remove their social login buttons.
While Mailchimp found 3.4% disappointing, others felt very differently, noting that achieving 3.4% within a single month was pretty good going.
On the other hand, Easytobook, a B2C company, had 1.5 million monthly unique visitors, but they struggled with low engagement. They knew they had to simplify the registration process.
After implementing social login, they reported a 68% increase in user engagement because they were able to understand and interact with their users.
It seems that B2C companies might benefit far more from social login than B2B, but even that seems to depend on a company’s expectations.
I’d still say that with so many users stating social login is their preference, giving them the choice to either complete a registration form or use their existing social account IDs is far more likely to result in enhanced user engagement.
3. 92% of users will leave a site instead of resetting or recovering login info
Not only that, but according to a poll by Blue Research, one third of people say they leave frequently when forgetting their login information.
People visit your site because you are offering something they are interested in. Why make it harder for them to come back to you by asking them to remember yet another password?
Offering social login itself won’t automatically increase conversion rates. You still need to provide the products and services your target audience wants. However, it does make it easier for the growing number of social login fans to come back to your site.
So, combined with the right product and services, social login can help users become loyal and habitual users, in turn boosting your customer lifetime value (LTV).
Be warned, however, that social login might not be an ideal choice for all businesses.
Some ecommerce websites might decide against offering social login if their target audience is aged 55 or older—these users are less likely to have social accounts.
The same goes for businesses operating primarily in countries where social networks are blocked, such as China or Cuba.
And finally, if you only want to offer guest checkout or use third-party checkout—and you aren’t interested in collecting user data—social login might not be a good fit for your business.
4. 88% of users admit to entering incomplete or incorrect data on registration forms
In that same survey by Blue, it was found that an alarming majority of users enter the wrong data.
This is troubling, because in a study by Harris Interactive & Janrain, it was found that 74% of users get frustrated when the website displays content that has nothing to do with their interests. How can you personalize your marketing and create a better experience when the data users give you is poor and incorrect?
When users sign up via a social account, businesses access information already on their social profiles, such as gender, age, relationship status, interests, and more.
Businesses using traditional registration processes rely entirely on the data obtained from their own forms and know they are pushing their luck if they ask for more than five data points.
A relevant but slightly dated case study reported that websites that require users to enter a large amount of data lost out in terms of conversions.
The “before” form is an 11-question general contact form; the “after” form is the 4-question general contact form. The test comprised a two-month period for each form.
I broke down the stats and found websites decrease conversion by 17% for each required data point.
Of those users who do bother to sign up, the majority are likely to skip fields or falsify information.
Naturally, companies have tried a number of ways to validate user data, including email verification processes that require users to open their email and click on yet another link.
Programs that automatically detect irregular email addresses or incomplete dates of birth are popular and can stem the flow of falsified data. However, these are time-consuming and irksome processes that don’t stop consumers voting with the escape key and heading for a competitor if they can.
Getting quality user data is essential for any online business, and offering social login alongside a registration form gives you access to verified email addresses and more than 200 verified data points for each user. Even better—all of that without irritating the user.
It is important to note, however, that because of the large quantities of information shared through online social networks, data describing user behavior is only as good as the methods used to collate and interpret it.
For an in-depth analysis of how to optimize users’ social data, take a look at Computational Social Networks published by Springer Link.
Others are fully sold on the value of users’ social data to marketers, including entrepreneur Higinio Maycotte.
“If login data is gold, social login data is platinum,” he wrote for Datafloq. He also added:
In the current digital age where social reigns, there is simply no gain digging out your own gold fleck amongst the gold mines that are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and so on. Instead, you’re better off joining forces via social login.
5. 100% of the Blue Research poll participants reported receiving irrelevant information and promotions
Hardly a surprise. We’ve all been directed to content we simply aren’t interested in.
Who hasn’t received endless invitations to buy men’s suits, despite being a woman? Or been offered a discounted bikini wax, despite belonging to an age group unlikely to be concerned with this type of beauty treatment?
Social login gives you access to much more information about your consumer base, allowing you to filter content according to their demographic, specific interests, and personal circumstances. Basically, it allows you to personalize the user experience.
In turn, most users will be more engaged with your brand and products because they know you offer the things they want. Hooking users with appropriate content will see them spending much more time on your site.
That said, it would be foolish to suggest that absolutely everyone enjoys such a high level of personalization. Frankly, some find it plain creepy. Remember, though, that they are probably the type of user who is less likely to sign up with social login anyway.
Offering a choice of sign-up options means giving consumers control over how they want to engage with you.
6. 78% of people say they’ll post messages to their social network about products and services they like
If you’ve managed to increase your sign-up and return visit rates, you now need to engage with users and encourage them to like and share your content.
Social sharing means you can access a wider audience because users love sharing content online.
However, just as any marketing campaign needs to be properly thought out so it doesn’t backfire, website owners need to think carefully about what they are sharing, and how they are sharing it.
Take the infamous American Apparel campaign offering 30% off to customers living in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy “in case you are bored during the storm.” Users quickly took to Twitter and other social networks and roundly criticized the ad.
For more social media marketing don’ts, check out the biggest social media fails from 2018.
Making your site social allows your users to easily share your content, products, and promote your brand. Just make sure you do it well and think through any possible, unintended consequences.
Still, the fact remains that Facebook ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons alone are viewed more than 22 billion times daily across more than 7.5m websites.
With that sort of reach combined with the ability to segment users, you have to ask yourself if you can afford to ignore social sharing.
7. Better data means (potentially) better marketing decisions
“The holy grail of marketing is to proactively pounce upon every individual customer opportunity by predicting beforehand who will respond and to preemptively intervene each customer loss by predicting who will defect.”
Dr Eric Siegel, author of Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie or Die
Knowing who your users are means knowing what they do and don’t want. More detailed and reliable data allows you to tailor your business model, monitor trends, and measure how they might impact future demand.
Perhaps more importantly though, social login can help you to eliminate the excuse of “we don’t have enough data to know for sure.”
In two separate studies conducted by Pivot, it was found that most companies haven’t even asked what their social customers wanted.
Of course, this is a major contributing factor to a very wide perception gap—social marketers think they know what customers want, but are pretty far off.
However, with social login, you could create feedback loops to conduct your own surveys (like the one shown above) or collect testimonials, and use the social network ad platforms to target registered users and buyers in the places they’re already spending time online.
Going social improves the quantity and quality of data your marketing team receives, enabling you to make more informed decisions about everything your business does—including marketing and customer retention strategies.
8. 82% of users said they’d consider trying a new product if someone in their social network recommended it
This data from the Blue research study reflects other research we cited in our article on investing in good testimonials.
Nothing beats word-of-mouth recommendations. Not only do you lower your costs to acquire customers (CAC), it also increases your return on investment (ROI).
Getting to know your users and having them share your brand with their networks is a marketers dream.
Social login allows you to go one step further. With integrated friend invite, users don’t simply endorse your brand and products, but can actively invite their friends to engage with your site and content.
The number of potential referrals far surpasses anything marketing teams could manage alone, with users far more likely to check something out if one of their friends has shared it.
However, be aware that any slips in customer service or problems with products can also go viral. Remember how United Airlines came in for a roasting after initially failing to compensate a passenger whose guitar was broken during a flight?
The United Breaks Guitars video on YouTube went viral, and not in a good way for United Airlines. They eventually offered some compensation, but this served as a cautionary tale for all businesses who’ve yet to understand the power ‘going viral’ also gives consumers.
But overall, making it easier to go viral by installing social login and sharing should see you get much more out of your marketing efforts.
For some pointers on how to predict whether you’ll go viral, read this paper on predicting the popularity of YouTube videos.
9. The next generation of social engagement
Adapt or die, so goes the old adage. The world—and internet technology in particular—is evolving so quickly your competition will overtake you and win the race if you don’t stay at the cutting edge.
Just look at Blackberry and Nokia. Once absolute market leaders, they have been outperformed by competitors who saw where the mobile market was heading and understood that customer expectations were changing.
Of course, there’s a lot of discussion around the ‘is social media a fad’ question and it has its fair share of detractors.
Pratik Dholakiya, founder of The 20 Media, pointed to falling user rates in many developed economies, including the US and the UK, as a key indicator that social media is ‘on the way out.’
While acknowledging social media user rates continue to rise in developing economies, Dholakiya believes that privacy concerns and user discomfort with being so visible will eventually drive social media’s popularity down.
Dholakiya does not, however, suggest abandoning social media marketing altogether, stressing that it is a niche business, and marketers had better use it as such (see my points 5, 6, and 7 above).
“You can segment your audience by interests and commercial intent. Let’s put the focus back on niches. Stop trying to appeal to everybody with the same message. Go where you audience is. Pratik Dholakiya, founder of The 20 Media
The lesson here is that you need a clear social media marketing strategy that does more than rely on headlines, and also can distinguish registered users, repeat visitors, and people whose interest profiles are similar to your existing customers.
Social login in combination with social ad solutions like Facebook custom audiences, Facebook retargeting, and interest targeting allow you to deliver more personalized experiences over the social networks.
In theory, you can also use social login data to promote upselling and cross-selling in the social feeds based on existing purchases, but that’s a conversation for another time.
If you’ve been on the fence about introducing social login for your ecommerce site, hopefully this has given you enough to consider.
Of course, I’m an established fan, so I’m keen to spread the word and get some feedback from users and website owners alike.
If you have any questions or want to agree/disagree with me, ask me anything you’d like in the comments below.