By Michael Olson | Posted on October 18, 2010
The public sector is an emerging market for social login, with Government agencies recognizing that improved transparency and increased citizen engagement can be accomplished by allowing online users to login to their websites with an existing social identity.
Fylde Borough Council is a Government district in the United Kingdom that provides a range of services for its citizens, including housing, parks, leisure, city beautification and environmental health. Fylde’s website provides information on local services and a community to stimulate engagement with local residents.
Fylde’s key online objective was to increase engagement with community members and facilitate greater participation. Fylde conducted several focus groups that revealed how users behaved on its site, and it became clear to the Council that requiring users to create a site-specific username and password posed a challenge to growing membership and providing a personalized user experience. "One of the things that always comes up is that people are sick of creating more user IDs for different websites," said Andrew Cain, Fylde Borough Council’s Transformational Services Manager. "That led us to seek a more open login process and find ways to encourage more people to login."
Fylde recognized that its online customer service tool (Get Satisfaction, a Janrain partner) made it easy for visitors to sign-in and share feedback with an existing account from Facebook, Google or Twitter, and determined that it could accomplish its online goals by extending such functionality to its own website.
Fylde launched Janrain Engage in mid-September and has experienced a 100% increase in registration rates compared to when only offering a legacy username/password system. Fylde serves personalized content to registered users based on their location. This has helped return visits and logins increase from 1.6 logins per user to 3.3 logins/user since implementing Janrain Engage, resulting in improved long-term engagement with Fylde residents.
Signups for email newsletters and alerts have increased substantially, helping Fylde keep users informed of local news and more effectively solicit feedback on Council policies. Previously, only 24% of users chose to sign up for email alerts, but that percentage has increased to 87% since launching Janrain Engage. Andrew Cain attributed this to the fact that users can easily share their email address from Google, Yahoo!, Facebook or other social networks when registering with the site, reducing the hassle associated with newsletter sign-ups.
Forgotten password inquiries have also decreased dramatically by eliminating the need for users to create or maintain a Fylde password to access the site.
Speed of deployment was a key factor in Fylde’s decision to use Janrain Engage. "From a development point of view, it’s been incredibly easy to setup," Andrew Cain said. "The documentation was perfect and the setup was pain free. We were able to set up a test deployment in about a day."
Longer term, Fylde plans to evaluate launching social sharing features, which would enable members to share local events with their friends on the social networks, driving increased traffic back to the Fylde website.
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