Social Sign-On: Good Things Come in Multiples

Written by Bonnie Boglioli...June 8, 2011
Login with Facebook

Social Sign-On is a form of authentication that allows end-users to register and login to websites with existing social identities such as their Facebook, Google or Twitter accounts. With 75% of consumers inclined to leave websites that require registration, Social Sign-On remedies many common conversion headaches and has been quickly embraced. Additionally, it broadens reach, increases engagement and tap into valuable social APIs.  

With some 600 million users, it’s tempting to assume that offering a single Facebook sign-on option should suffice. Yet, the real meat and potatoes of Social Sign-On is not found with any one network (no matter how large). Here are a few things to keep in mind when contemplating how many Social Sign-On options to offer, and why they’re important:

Don’t Put Your Eggs in One Basket

Despite Facebook’s dominance in the social arena today, it’s never a good idea to put all of your SSO eggs in one basket. For starters, any platform may experience unanticipated downtime or other future issues that would prevent users from logging into your site. Having multiple sign-on options in place is the best way to mitigate such issues ahead of time.

Beyond the technicalities, a Facebook-only sign-on option neglects large market segments that prefer to use other networks for varying reasons. Gigya, a social SaaS solution provider, recently told us that half of its users login with Social Sign-On options other than Facebook. Similarly, Janrain, reports that Facebook takes second place to Google on its social platform.

To avoid turning away these large numbers of potential users and their networks, ensure you have at least several viable options for your target audience. A diverse tactic ensures scalability and conversion, as users tote their social graphs (and all that lovely data and functionality) with them.

Respect Splintered Identities

Americans spend nearly a quarter of their computer time on social sites (Nielsen) and the explosion of social networks for all persuasions enables users to micromanage their online relationships like never before.  Most people leverage multiple social networks to their benefit, splintering their identities and cultivating distinct relationships accordingly. What’s more, people around the world have embraced new networks as the landscape evolves, making it difficult to peg any one choice.

The single most efficient way for consumer-facing organizations to meet these varying and changing needs is to offer several Social Sign-On options. While this does not suggest you must have dozens represented, it does mean that a few major ones will ensure you’re hitting your bases. A clear understanding of target audience is crucial in determining which social options to offer.

Demographics, market segment, location and other key indicators all drive peoples’ use of particular networks for particular reasons. While most sites will benefit from a Google or Facebook option, a commerce platform should additionally consider a PayPal sign-on option whereas a B2B site should ensure users can tap into their LinkedIn identities.

Mission: High Quality Traffic & Rich Data

Social sign-on offers valuable information from the provider’s perspective and allows sites to leverage their users’ social graphs in a variety of unique ways. While there is no question that Facebook provides a virtual treasure trove for marketers to explore user data on various fronts, other social networks offer unique information of their own that may prove more important to the provider.

Beyond data, Social SO allows websites to benefit from social features as users share their latest product, article or reviews with their existing social network. Traffic from social networks is proving to be the best around as it is highly targeted and virtually tailored to individual users and their networks. Having multiple SSO options ensures that you are tapping into different network graphs, broadening reach and conversion simultaneously.

Get Ready for Social Commerce

Social commerce may be a new buzzword, but it is expected to grow 6-fold by 2015 (Booz&Co). It’s little wonder- a whopping 71% of respondents in one recent survey cite friend and family reviews exert the greatest influence over their own buying decisions.

It may seem counter-intuitive, but keeping people on their own networks, talking and sharing with their peers, trumps keeping them stuck on a single website anxious to leave. By providing them an efficient means of accessing their choice network, you enable them to discuss and share information about your product or service while keeping them around. And you promote the brand each time they interact with it.

Social login powered by Gigya