By Jamie Beckland | Posted on June 29, 2011
This post is part of our social media best practices series, which looks at how to leverage Janrain’s solutions to drive your marketing metrics. See the entire Social Media Best Practices Series here.
Social login is a simple concept, with profound implications. When a user logins into any website using an existing online identity, there is immediate value for both the the user and the website.
For users, the ease of logging in without filling out a long profile form and the convenience of not needing to remember passwords is a clear benefit. For websites, among the many benefits is the information that users share offers an opportunity to make the site experience more relevant.
From a technical standpoint, the process of integrating Janrain Engage to enable social login into your site is very straightforward. Most of the effort in the integration will be around determining the best possible user experience for your community.
First, and most important, you must clearly define why a user would register on your site in the first place. This critical step is often the most overlooked. Your users are rational economic actors, and as such, will evaluate the trade-offs of every exchange. They will weigh what they are giving up (personal information) for what they are receiving in return. Even when there is no money involved, your users still need to find more value in what they receive from registration, than the personal information they are giving up.
The type of experiences you put behind a registration will dictate the type of users who will register. Your most loyal fans will want access to premium content; more casual users may be interested in a contest (depending on the prize). Consider your goals in relation to the 1/9/90 rule: in general, 1% of users create content; 9% will comment on those creations; and 90% will be passive readers.
Next, consider the actual experience of registering on your site. Where should the registration button be placed? Are there events that launch a registration flow automatically, like when a user clicks “Submit” after writing a comment. The launch experience will determine how likely a user is to abandon their registration. Make sure the benefits of registering are clearly defined right away in that process.
Finally, consider how much work it is for your user to complete their registration. You want the process to be as seamless as possible. This is your opportunity to leverage all of the data from a social login. If possible, do not require your users to create a separate “Display Name.” If there are certain fields that you require, like email address, only offer identity providers that provide that data to you.
If you must collect additional fields, they can be automatically pre-populated using the social data you have collected. Any additional information you require could cause your users to abandon the registration process. So, it’s crucial to only require items that are actually required. Don’t lose the good data they are providing by harassing them for one more item as it will cause drop off.
So far, we’ve discussed the whys and hows of user registration. Next week, I’ll talk more about how to make advanced registration and profiles more useful for your users, and for your business.
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