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Social login: Future of customer engagement?

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There is a growing disconnect between consumer expectation of the online experience and the reality. With 96% of individuals receiving information or promotions that are not relevant, according to the most recent research, organisations risk of disenfranchising their communities of users.

By Russell Loarridge, European Sales Director, Janrain

The same study shows that 78% of users regularly providing inaccurate information to organisations when registering for a web site, so perhaps this lack of accurate promotion and relevant engagement is not surprising.

In contrast, consumers are increasingly keen to use social log in; exploiting trusted, familiar Facebook and Google identities, for example, not only for the ease of use and improved security but also to share profile information in order to get a better online experience.

Research firm Gartner predicts that 80% of discretionary buying from consumers will be driven through digital marketing, so it is time for organisations to focus on the core requirements. Social login uses the proven security expertise of social networks, removes barriers and, critically, provides a platform for truly effective user engagement.

Customer acquisition

Organisations continue to increase investment on online customer acquisition. Growing numbers of sites, from retail to media, ask for user registration in order to capture key customer data, improve understanding and drive better interaction and engagement.

But what value is actually being derived? According to a recent survey, not only is this information inaccurate but the registration process is actively deterring customers.

The figures from Janrain reveal that seven in 10 UK users avoid creating new user accounts and 78% have given incomplete or incorrect information when asked to register, effectively compromising the CRM system and undermining the investment in online customer acquisition.

In contrast, when consumers are offered a social login option – the ability for consumers to use their social media identity such as Facebook, Google or Linkedin logins to register and log in to a brand’s website, the response is extremely positive.

More than four in five consumers have come across a website offering social login in recent months and over half (53% have used it). Indeed 85% of consumers think social login should be offered by websites.

Secure and effective

The appeal of the social login goes beyond simplifying the process; consumers are keen to exploit the benefits of social networking to share experiences and information, and receive more relevant promotions based on profiles.

For businesses, not only will offering a social login option increase customer acquisition and transform engagement opportunities but it also removes the need for expensive security investment to manage and store customer usernames and passwords.

Organisations are currently spending money on security that is not core to their business. Google or Facebook, on the other hand, have entire teams dedicated to ensuring security, privacy and data integrity. Add in password fatigue and the consumer habit of using the same username and password across multiple accounts, and the risk of DIY logins is significant.

Leveraging the social login model provides immediate access to multiple social networks via a single, open application programming interface. Users are highly unlikely to forget their Facebook or Google logins and, if they do, the question goes back to the identity provider, not the organisation, providing both cost and privacy benefits.

Consumer profiles

Having completed the initial registration process, users can grant organisations permission to access certain aspects of their social profile information, transforming the opportunities for engagement via effective and relevant promotions – a fact that appeals to businesses and consumers alike.

Almost six in 10 (57%) of respondents to the Janrain survey liked the fact that social login offers the option to have a more personalised experience when visiting a website without needing to re-enter preferences.

In addition to eliminating the clutter of receiving ads and promotions for products or services that have no relevance, sharing a profile enables the site to transform the way it engages.

Two thirds (64%) are more likely to return to a website if the experience is personalised, while 54% will recommend the websites to others, according to our findings.

Consumers are also keen to share their experiences to build on the essence of social networking by creating stronger bonds with those sharing the same interests. In our research 45% said the ability to comment about or rate a site, article purchase or company useful.

The benefits of this model are tangible; with each ‘share’ typically generating 13 referrals or new visitors to the site and providing a highly effective route to customer acquisition.

Organisations beware

Investment has shifted radically from traditional to online media over the past decade, yet consumers could grow tired of an online environment that fails to evolve with their needs.

Frustrated by inappropriate advertising or offers, tired of having to repeatedly create new usernames and passwords to register for each site, and bored of having to contact the organisation each time the log in details are forgotten, many users simply leave the site for good.

Consumers want to be engaged and they are willing to share their profile with organisations in order to improve the online experience. It is those brands that are on the leading edge, that are innovating and providing a truly engaging consumer experience that are building stronger customer relationships and achieving a tangible increase in market share.