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Social Login Trends Across the Web for Q4 2012

By Michael Olson | Posted on January 07, 2013

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If you’re like 87% of people, you have likely come across the option to register at a website using one of your existing social network or email identities. This is known as social login, a technology that Janrain pioneered to solve the challenge websites have faced when acquiring users online via traditional registration processes. As web users, we don’t like filling out registration forms from scratch. Nor do we enjoy maintaining dozens of distinct usernames and passwords on each site that we frequently visit.

The advent of social media has emboldened us to foster personas for ourselves online. But the social media landscape is fragmented. We tend to use Facebook to interact with friends and family, Twitter to follow influencers and share opinions, LinkedIn as our professional network, and Gmail, Yahoo! or Hotmail to communicate directly with our important contacts. Combined, more than 2.5 billion of us maintain accounts with these services, and social login solves the registration challenge by making it possible to use those identities to easily sign up and log in on sites across the web.

Which Identity Providers are the Most Popular Choices?

Each quarter, we seek to answer this question by analyzing social login preferences for online consumers across all websites using Janrain. These trends are significant because social login preferences are a leading indicator of consumer trust in the different online identity providers. If I use my Google account to login and participate on sites across the web, for example, such a choice serves as an indication of the trust and affinity felt toward that service.

When it comes to social login, our data shows that people want choice. For the 8th consecutive quarter, Facebook leads as the most popular identity provider for social login. During Q4, Facebook did lose ground to Google, dropping in popularity from 54% to 49%, while Google’s share of social logins ascended from 25% to 31%.

janrain Q4 2012 social login

Despite the moderate decrease in share of social logins during Q4, Facebook still remains the most popular choice for the eighth consecutive quarter. After reaching an all-time quarterly high during Q3, Twitter’s share also decreased moderately to 7% during Q4.

LinkedIn enjoys substantial popularity on sites that cater toward business professionals, with as many as 80% of business professionals choosing to log in with their LinkedIn identity on some B2B websites. A majority of us maintain our professional online identity on LinkedIn, and key profile fields such as our verified email address, company name, job title and industry can be pre-populated on the registration form of a B2B website to dramatically accelerate the sign-up process.

We also have observed disparate preferences across geographic regions. For example, Hyves contends with Facebook as the most popular social network in the Netherlands, and social login preferences on Dutch websites substantiate that notion. In Brazil and India, Orkut is a popular identity provider for social login, while in China, Sina Weibo and Renren maintain popularity. Mixi is a common social login choice in Japan, while VK is preferred in Russia.

janrain social login trends

Most Popular Social Login Providers By Vertical

As with prior analyses, we have taken a sampling of sites in four industry verticals to measure trends in consumer login preferences. While the overall story arc is similar, there are disparate preferences within each vertical that merit attention.

janrain media social login Q4

Janrain Retail Social Login Q4

Janrain Entertainment Social Login Q4

Janrain Music Social Login Q4

Janrain Consumer Brands Social Login Q4 2012

Despite its decreased share across all Janrain customer websites, Facebook still leads other social networks and email providers across prominent industry verticals including media, retail, entertainment and gaming, and music-related sites. Its popularity is especially pronounced on entertainment, music, gaming and consumer brand websites. Facebook did make notable gains on retail and eCommerce sites during Q4, with a 5% increase in share of social logins.

Google is performing well as the second most favored portable identity provider across each of these verticals, but its popularity is most evident on retail sites, which could perhaps be a reflection of the trust that people place in Google as a secure provider of their online identity.

Mobile Social Login Trends

On mobile applications, Facebook and Google lead in popularity, followed by Twitter and Yahoo!.

Janrain Mobile Social Login Q4


What do these findings mean for your business? As you work to add a social layer to your site to improve engagement and drive conversions, social login should be fully integrated. We hope these findings provide a useful benchmark as you optimize your online user acquisition strategy.

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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