By Michael Olson | Posted on July 01, 2014
The ability to use an existing social network or email identity is now the most popular way to create accounts on the web. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; 90% of people have encountered social login before, and more than half of people use it. Social login streamlines the account creation and login process by eliminating the need to create and remember yet another username-password combination.
For the past four years, Janrain has published quarterly reports to shed light on consumer preferences for social login, with data aggregated from sites that use Janrain. The key takeaway, above all else, is that people want a choice of social login providers. The social media landscape is fragmented, and people use each of their social networks for distinct purposes, whether to interact with friends and family, project professional identity or follow influencers. We hope these findings provide a useful benchmark for developing your own personalized marketing strategy.
Facebook reversed a streak in which it lost market share in six straight quarters, increasing its share of social logins by 1.5%. The increase was especially pronounced on media, retail and B2B websites, each of which saw a 2% increase in Facebook’s share.
Google remains Facebook’s strongest contender. Its popularity may be the result of its push to unify each of its services, such as Gmail, Google+, YouTube, Android and Play, under a single Google identity. People are using a single Google identity to access each of these services, making it stickier. Social login preferences tend to reflect consumer affinities, so we believe that the Google identity now has more brand affinity and value for consumers.
Facebook’s growth primarily came at the expense of Yahoo, which saw its share drop by 3%. For the first time since Q3 2012, Twitter surpassed Yahoo as the third most popular choice. Just last quarter, Yahoo recorded its largest single quarter increase in four years on the heels of revenue gains and new identified revenue streams. It will be interesting to see if Yahoo can recover its Q1 momentum.
Despite the perception of a two-horse race, consumer preference differs widely across the world. In Russia, VK is one of the most popular social networks and is a common choice for social login. In China, networks such as Sina Weibo, Renren, Tencent Weibo and QQ are popular. In Japan, many choose Mixi.
We also observed that social login usage will vary when alternatives are present. Some of the identity providers we have recently started to support, such as Instagram and Amazon, earn anywhere from 10-25% share of social logins on sites that have enabled it. As more of our clients support these networks, we expect to see their market share climb.
As with our previous reports, we have taken a look at sites in six industry verticals to measure trends in consumer login preferences.
Facebook overtook Google and LinkedIn as the most popular choice on B2B sites, with Facebook extending its lead on media and retail sites. We also observed a decrease in popularity for Google on retail sites. We expect this landscape to evolve as momentum builds for innovations such as Google Wallet Instant Buy and Autofill with Facebook, both of which encourage the use of social login during checkout.
What do these findings mean for your business? As you think of ways to improve registration conversion and know your customers, social login can play a major role:
Social login helps solve the challenge of collecting accurate customer profile data without sacrificing acquisition rates. Social login accelerates the registration process to a single click and grants instant permission-based access to rich demographic and psychographic data about your customers. This social profile data can be utilized to improve segmentation, personalization and targeting efforts.
It can be a headache to implement the plumbing for each social network API on your own. Under the hood, these networks use different protocols like OpenID, OpenID Connect, OAuth, and proprietary frameworks. As a result, coding social login on your own requires significant investment of time and engineering expertise. Ongoing maintenance is another challenge, especially when networks change their APIs, in some instances without advance notice.
Your social login and sharing solution should allow you to easily integrate multiple social networks by writing once to a single API. Implementing social login technology on your site cuts deployment times to days from weeks or months and keeps engineering resources focused on your core competencies.
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