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Social Login Trends Across the Web 2H 2010

By Michael Olson | Posted on December 08, 2010

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Each quarter this year, we reported on the most popular networks for social login and sharing. Today, Marketing Pilgrim published an update of this data in the aggregate across 300,000 sites using Janrain Engage. We are also spotlighting several key verticals, Europe and the mobile space.

Beyond simply measuring the relative success of each identity provider by their user volumes, we are digging deeper to measure the relative reach and influence of each network across a number of key vertical market segments. We define reach in this case as the popularity of each social network as a provider of online identity for user login across the web, and influence as a social network’s ability to drive traffic to a website via social sharing.

Across the 300,000 websites using Janrain Engage, Google remains the most popular provider. Facebook has improved its position by 3% compared to three months ago, and Twitter’s overall share has improved from 5% to 7% of overall login preference. Yahoo! has held constant at 14% share.

janrain social login preferences all customers

An analysis of various industry verticals tells a different story. Yahoo! was the prevailing provider among news media companies three months ago, comprising 34% of social logins on sampled sites. During the past quarter, Facebook’s share in this segment has grown at the expense of Yahoo!, Google and AOL. Despite the moderate decrease this quarter among the 25 sites sampled, news media sites remain one of Yahoo!’s highest-performing verticals in terms of social login preference. Keep an eye on Twitter, as it improved from 4% to 6% share in this vertical over the last quarter.

janrain news media social login

There is considerable diversity in login preferences between news and magazine sites. Facebook is the clear leader for magazine publishers, with 49% of users on sampled sites preferring to sign-in with a Facebook identity. However, this number has declined 8% from last quarter largely due to the moderate emergence of Windows Live and AOL at 4% share apiece. Google and Yahoo! have held steady as the second and third most popular networks within this market segment.

janrain magazine publishers social login

Among entertainment and gaming sites, Facebook leads by a considerable margin, which is not altogether surprising given the popularity of social games on the web and particularly within Facebook communities. Windows Live is a surprising second choice in this vertical. Among the 12 entertainment companies comprising this sample, several are European social gaming sites, a geographic region where Windows Live performs relatively well. More on this later.

janrain entertainment social login

Among the more than 150 music sites sampled, including those of popular artists, Facebook maintains the lead it held three months ago. However, it’s important to note a 5% decline in relative popularity as a social login provider compared to last quarter. The biggest winner in this segment is Google, which improved from 8% share to 17%, overtaking Twitter for second place. Google’s spike is indicative of an expanded sample size, particularly in South America where Google/Orkut is an established provider.

janrain music sites social login

Perhaps more than any other vertical sampled, the social login preferences in the retail vertical have remained most constant. Facebook continues to be the most popular network, picking up 2% share relative to last quarter, but Google and Yahoo! also perform fairly well. We anticipate accelerated adoption of social login technology in the retail space in 2011. Watch this blog for future updates.

janrain retail social login

For the first time, we have compiled data on the most popular networks for social login on mobile devices, compiled from a sample of entertainment, technology, non-profit and online guide sites using Janrain Engage for iPhone. Facebook and Google lead the pack at 34% and 30%, respectively, while Twitter is twice as popular a sign-in provider on the iPhone. This is expected given the percentage of Twitter users who access the service via mobile devices.

janrain mobile social login

We’ve also included non-profit sites for the first time, and see a distribution similar to other verticals. What accounts for this? Many non-profit sites function as commerce/retail sites to fundraise, as well as content/media sites to promote causes or community/entertainment sites to facilitate engagement.

janrain nonprofit social login

Similar to last quarter, we want to note that Windows Live remains twice as popular a social login provider in Europe as in the US, and its share has increased from 8% to 11% despite the emergence of more localized social networks and email providers. These providers, such as Hyves (Netherlands), Netlog (Belgium), and GMX (Germany) comprise over 10% of social logins from our sample of 20 European customers. Their growth in social login popularity across the Atlantic comes at the expense of Google, Twitter and Yahoo!

janrain europe social login

As we’ve discussed on this blog, social login is only part of the equation, and Janrain’s savviest customers utilize social sharing to increase site traffic and build online word of mouth. Facebook and Twitter dominate at 61% and 35%, respectively, with Facebook earning a 6% increase from last quarter. However, 17% of users on Janrain Engage customer sites also like to share to their Yahoo! or MySpace communities. Yahoo! Updates has increased in popularity as a sharing destination during the past three months, up 3% from last quarter. Keep an eye on LinkedIn, which is growing increasingly popular as a sharing destination, especially on B2B sites.

janrain social sharing preferences

One thing to note with this data – Janrain Engage supports sharing to multiple social networks simultaneously, enabling users to share a purchase, article comment, high score in a game or other activity with friends on all the major social networks at once. Janrain customers generate an average of 12 new referral visits to their site for each activity shared to a social network. This data point is indicative of the power of making it easy for users to share activities from a website to their social networks. Given that last quarter the average was 9 new referral visits for each social post, we have seen a 33% increase in just a quarter.

So what are the key takeaways from this data? If your organization is just beginning to think about adopting social login or sharing, these findings can serve as a benchmark for your industry. The social space is evolving rapidly, and in order to maximize return on investment and position your organization for sustained future success, it is best to cast a wide net and incorporate social login and sharing technologies that support multiple social networks and identity providers.

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About the author

Michael Olson

Michael Olson

Senior Product Marketing Manager

Michael Olson joined Janrain more than five and a half years ago and has experienced the explosive growth of the digital marketing technology landscape. Previously, he managed demand generation programs at Janrain. Currently, as the Senior Product Marketing Manager, Michael drives go-to-market strategy for product launches as well as positioning and messaging to communicate the value of customer profile management solutions to companies. Michael's writing has been featured in publications such as GigaOM, Adotas and iMedia Connection.

View all posts by Michael Olson