By Alexandra Larralde | Posted on January 08, 2015
Janrain defined the social login business-afterall, we pioneered social-login-as-a-service in 2008. Social login is now, in the first quarter of 2015, not only well understood by consumers, but highly utilized: our research indicates that 90% of people have come across social login on a website they frequent, and more than half of those people use it.
For the last 5 years, we’ve published quarterly reports showing who’s winning the race to drive adoption of customer identity across the Internet. Looking at our data from Q4 2014, we see clear signs that Facebook’s reign as the leading social login provider of choice continues, yet the identity behemoth has another well-known digital brand hot on its heels. Google gained 6% of total social logins this quarter after a 3% slip between Q2’14 and Q3’14, which also represents the largest quarter-over-quarter increase in logins across all sites for any of the top identity providers in over two years.
What’s driving the closing gap between Facebook and Google? Across all industry verticals, Facebook’s 43% market share leads Google’s by just 3%. As we saw last quarter, Google’s ongoing moves to unify identity across many highly-utilized services helps solidify its value and ubiquity for consumers-it’s a one-stop identity to manage Gmail, Play, Android, YouTube and Google+ accounts-so why wouldn’t consumers use it to manage accounts outside of the Google portfolio of products? We expect the numbers to get even more interesting in the next few quarters, as Facebook migrates to its new app version introducing line-by-line controls and the anonymous login option. It’s also possible that their renewed focus on consumer data privacy will help Facebook regain some of the market share it lost this past quarter.
With the exception of Facebook and Google, the rest of the major identity providers are holding steady across all sites, with little change over last quarter in terms of overall share of logins.
LinkedIn saw a big jump across B2B websites this quarter, increasing their share of total logins from 29% to 35%. We can draw the conclusion that B2B companies are beginning to better understand the benefit of offering LinkedIn as a social login option, an identity provider that passes over a data payload (with user permission, of course) that includes key professional data such as positions held and a verified email address. Consequently, both Facebook and Google lost a 3% share in this space.
Among music-focused sites, Facebook lost 8% of logins while Google’s share jumped 12%, from 16% in Q3 to 28% in the last quarter. There has been, however, much fluctuation in this vertical, largely attributed to the campaign-based nature of the industry. With on-site activity often concentrated around key events that are more cyclical in nature, such as concert tours, new singles and album releases, we expect to see ongoing, and sometimes large, shifts.
Consumer brand websites also witnessed noteworthy changes this quarter. In an area that arguably serves the largest number of addressable customers, we saw Google’s total share of social logins jump 7% from 31% in Q3 to 38% in Q4. Facebook’s share decreased 3%, from 52% in Q3, to just under half of total logins at 49% in Q4.
You can view this quarter’s trends for the entertainment/gaming, media and retail verticals below:
Marketers, developers and technologists alike should prepare to see additional shifts in 2015, as the two big identity contenders make substantial changes to their social login apps in Q1 and Q2. As Facebook prepares to launch the new version of their app on March 1, customers have been asked to conduct an audit process that requires them to explain why they’ve chosen to collect certain pieces of customer information in their data payload. Facebook has the authority to deny access to information if they deem a company’s rationale insufficient, making it critical for customers to assess their customer data strategy going forward, and put plans in place for leveraging the data they collect from the people logging in on their sites.
Google is also preparing to deprecate their Google login on April 20 of this year, in favor of a universal Google+ option. If you’re a customer currently using Google as a social login option, you must migrate to the Google+ identity provider within your application prior to the sunset date to ensure that login doesn’t fail for your customers. If you run into any issues during that process, Janrain customer support is always here to help.
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