By Michael Olson | Posted on April 07, 2010
In January, we published data on trends in the social media space related to user login preferences across 170,000 websites using JanRain RPX for authentication. The data showed clear preference differences based on industry vertical (media vs. technology). Today, we shared an update of that data with Mashable and on this blog, with the added inclusion of the retail vertical and a quick look at social publishing trends.
The breakdown of the most popular identity providers for user authentication:
Across our customer base, Google remains the most popular identity provider, comprising approximately 38% of all logins. Facebook remains the second most popular choice for users despite losing 3% share during the past quarter. Yahoo!’s share has increased during the quarter, with over 12% of users preferring to login with their Yahoo! accounts. The propensity for logins via Windows Live has also increased. Three months ago, 3.7% of all logins on RPX-enabled websites occurred via Windows Live, but just during March, 7% of logins have been via Windows Live, and on aggregate, it now comprises 5% of all logins on RPX-enabled sites.
As more providers like LinkedIn, which JanRain added to RPX in February, come on board and gain traction, we will continue to keep close tabs on trends.
Among media companies, the distribution looks notably different. While Facebook is the most popular platform for user authentication among the four media companies sampled, 55% of visitors to these sites prefer to login via a different identity provider. It is important to note that not all media companies sampled chose to enable each identity provider. Thus, the following is a snapshot of the popularity of each provider only when that particular provider is enabled as a sign in choice:
Compared to our January report, Facebook has grown from 38% to 45% at the expense of other providers except Twitter. Another key take-away is that Yahoo!, commands double its aggregate share within the media vertical, comprising 25% of logins among sampled companies.
Among technology platforms (comprising various customer feedback tools and white-label social community and networking platforms), we again see a variation in the distribution. Twitter comprises a much larger share of this space – over 16% of all logins in this vertical, compared to 6% for our customer average. Again, this data provides a snapshot of user preferences only when a particular provider has been enabled by the website as a sign in choice:
We included a look at the retail vertical in this analysis. While Facebook again performs best, nearly 50% of internet users prefer a Yahoo! or Google account for authentication:
In addition to logging in with a social network identity, users are increasingly publishing their activities back to the social networks. We took a look at 15 sites across multiple industries for a snapshot of how users are sharing information through RPX:
This data demonstrates the value of giving users the option to publish their activities to multiple social networks. While a majority of all activities from the sampled websites are being published to Facebook, nearly 50% of all social sharing occurs beyond Facebook. Twitter’s value proposition as a service for real-time sharing of information is reinforced by this data, as 38% of users prefer sharing their online activities with their followers on Twitter. One thing to note – RPX supports publishing to multiple social networks simultaneously, and many internet users prefer sharing their online activities to friends on multiple social networks. This data takes such behavior into account.
We conducted similar analysis on user publishing and sharing behavior by vertical, but did not detect significant differences in preference by industry. We will continue to keep an eye on changing trends and report our findings.
So what does all of this data mean? As a web marketer, developer or technologist, you can make your organization’s online presence more successful and yield a higher ROI by leveraging the social identities of your users, and gaining a better understanding of your audience and how they use the social web.
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