We are always striving to boost conversion rates and encourage users to engage more.
Forward-looking businesses are using social login, also known as social sign-on, to do just that.
For the uninitiated, social login allows users to access websites using their existing social account IDs, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Not only can it enhance the user’s experience on your site—no need to fill out a registration form or remember yet more password—it also allows marketers to gather more accurate data, including verified email addresses, age, gender, relationship status, and interests.
Table of contents
- What is social login?
- How does social login work?
- 1. 86% of users report being bothered by having to create new accounts on websites
- 2. 77% of users believe social login is a good registration solution…
- 3. 92% of users will leave a site instead of resetting or recovering login info
- 4. 88% of users admit to entering incomplete or incorrect data on registration forms
- 5. 100% of the Blue Research poll participants reported receiving irrelevant information and promotions
- 6. 78% of people say they’ll post messages to their social network about products and services they like
- 7. Better data means (potentially) better marketing decisions
- 8. 82% of users said they’d consider trying a new product if someone in their social network recommended it
- 9. The next generation of social engagement
What is social login?
Social login is a type of sign-on that allows users to log into a website by using the information stored on a social network, such as Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn, just to name a few examples.
It is also a substitute for the standard account creation, which makes sign-in and registration processes easier.
How does social login work?
Social login works by replacing the need to create a new account as a new user. Instead, you can use credentials from another account.
Thus, eliminating the need to remember different passwords for different websites.
Given how many users indicate they prefer social login, giving people the option to register using their social account IDs rather than a registration form is more likely to increase user engagement.
9 things you should know about social login
If you are considering including social login in your marketing strategy, take a look at my top nine things every marketer should know about it.
1. 86% of users report being bothered by having to create new accounts on websites
A report from Gigya revealed that the leading reason people use social authentication is to avoid having to fill out online registration forms. Other reasons include not wanting to remember another username and password, and using the same identity on multiple websites.
In other words, potential customers are often put off by the effort to fill out a form, and may even leave the checkout process altogether.
Data fields on Society6 checkout are far from atypical, but users are increasingly disenchanted with these time-consuming forms.
In fact, 54% of users said they may actually leave a website and go to another rather than complete an individual registration form, according to a survey conducted by Blue Research.
One of the many things I’ve learned about users’ online behavior here at LoginRadius is that the younger demographic not only expect a seamless web experience, they know full well it’s available and are irritated if websites don’t offer that.
Estimates as to the average number of passwords users currently have to remember vary from around seven to 30—in one survey, 70% of respondents reported having more than 10 password-protected accounts online. We can assume so-called ‘password fatigue’ will only get worse.
Of course, I’m a total social login fan, but at least offering your users a choice between filling out a registration form and signing up using their social account IDs seems like straightforward business sense.
2. 77% of users believe social login is a good registration solution…
…and should be offered by any website, according to the aggregated research published by WebHostingBuzz.
The number of visitors directly correlates to revenue—whatever business you are in.
Whether you make money through sales or ads, you always need more user engagement on your website.
On top of that, if your registration process might actually be driving users to other websites, it would be wise to do what you can to stop people heading to your competitors.
Let me be straight, I’m in no way claiming that every user wants to sign-on with their social account IDs. We know that older users in particular are more cautious about the information they share and are less likely to opt to use social sign-on.
Take a look at the chart below:
Some companies have found that while social login dramatically reduced the number of failed login attempts and password reset requests, take up wasn’t as high as expected.
Mailchimp, a B2B email marketing platform, recorded a 66% drop in failed logins after introducing social login. Impressive, but since only 3.4% of their users signed in using social login, they decided to tweak their traditional registration form and remove their social login buttons.
While Mailchimp found 3.4% disappointing, others felt very differently, noting that achieving 3.4% within a single month was pretty good going.
On the other hand, Easytobook, a B2C company, had 1.5 million monthly unique visitors, but they struggled with low engagement. They knew they had to simplify the registration process.
After implementing social login, they reported a 68% increase in user engagement because they were able to understand and interact with their users.
It seems that B2C companies might benefit far more from social login than B2B, but even that seems to depend on a company’s expectations.
I’d still say that with so many users stating social login is their preference, giving them the choice to either complete a registration form or use their existing social account IDs is far more likely to result in enhanced user engagement.
3. 92% of users will leave a site instead of resetting or recovering login info
Not only that, but according to a poll by Blue Research, one third of people say they leave frequently when forgetting their login information.
People visit your site because you are offering something they are interested in. Why make it harder for them to come back to you by asking them to remember yet another password?
Offering social login itself won’t automatically increase conversion rates. You still need to provide the products and services your target audience wants. However, it does make it easier for the growing number of social login fans to come back to your site.
So, combined with the right product and services, social login can help users become loyal and habitual users, in turn boosting your customer lifetime value (LTV).
Be warned, however, that social login might not be an ideal choice for all businesses.
Some ecommerce websites might decide against offering social login if their target audience is aged 55 or older—these users are less likely to have social accounts.
The same goes for businesses operating primarily in countries where social networks are blocked, such as China or Cuba.
And finally, if you only want to offer guest checkout or use third-party checkout—and you aren’t interested in collecting user data—social login might not be a good fit for your business.
4. 88% of users admit to entering incomplete or incorrect data on registration forms
In that same survey by Blue, it was found that an alarming majority of users enter the wrong data.
This is troubling, because in a study by Harris Interactive & Janrain, it was found that 74% of users get frustrated when the website displays content that has nothing to do with their interests. How can you personalize your marketing and create a better experience when the data users give you is poor and incorrect?
When users sign up via a social account, businesses access information already on their social profiles, such as gender, age, relationship status, interests, and more.
Businesses using traditional registration processes rely entirely on the data obtained from their own forms and know they are pushing their luck if they ask for more than five data points.
A relevant but slightly dated case study reported that websites that require users to enter a large amount of data lost out in terms of conversions.
The “before” form is an 11-question general contact form; the “after” form is the 4-question general contact form. The test comprised a two-month period for each form.
I broke down the stats and found websites decrease conversion by 17% for each required data point.
Of those users who do bother to sign up, the majority are likely to skip fields or falsify information.
Naturally, companies have tried a number of ways to validate user data, including email verification processes that require users to open their email and click on yet another link.
Programs that automatically detect irregular email addresses or incomplete dates of birth are popular and can stem the flow of falsified data. However, these are time-consuming and irksome processes that don’t stop consumers voting with the escape key and heading for a competitor if they can.
Getting quality user data is essential for any online business, and offering social login alongside a registration form gives you access to verified email addresses and more than 200 verified data points for each user. Even better—all of that without irritating the user.
It is important to note, however, that because of the large quantities of information shared through online social networks, data describing user behavior is only as good as the methods used to collate and interpret it.
For an in-depth analysis of how to optimize users’ social data, take a look at Computational Social Networks published by Springer Link.
Others are fully sold on the value of users’ social data to marketers, including entrepreneur Higinio Maycotte.
“If login data is gold, social login data is platinum,” he wrote for Datafloq. He also added:
In the current digital age where social reigns, there is simply no gain digging out your own gold fleck amongst the gold mines that are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google, and so on. Instead, you’re better off joining forces via social login.
5. 100% of the Blue Research poll participants reported receiving irrelevant information and promotions
Hardly a surprise. We’ve all been directed to content we simply aren’t interested in.
Who hasn’t received endless invitations to buy men’s suits, despite being a woman? Or been offered a discounted bikini wax, despite belonging to an age group unlikely to be concerned with this type of beauty treatment?
Social login gives you access to much more information about your consumer base, allowing you to filter content according to their demographic, specific interests, and personal circumstances. Basically, it allows you to personalize the user experience.
In turn, most users will be more engaged with your brand and products because they know you offer the things they want. Hooking users with appropriate content will see them spending much more time on your site.
That said, it would be foolish to suggest that absolutely everyone enjoys such a high level of personalization. Frankly, some find it plain creepy. Remember, though, that they are probably the type of user who is less likely to sign up with social login anyway.
Offering a choice of sign-up options means giving consumers control over how they want to engage with you.
6. 78% of people say they’ll post messages to their social network about products and services they like
If you’ve managed to increase your sign-up and return visit rates, you now need to engage with users and encourage them to like and share your content.
Social sharing means you can access a wider audience because users love sharing content online.
However, just as any marketing campaign needs to be properly thought out so it doesn’t backfire, website owners need to think carefully about what they are sharing, and how they are sharing it.
Take the infamous American Apparel campaign offering 30% off to customers living in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy “in case you are bored during the storm.” Users quickly took to Twitter and other social networks and roundly criticized the ad.
For more social media marketing don’ts, check out the biggest social media fails from 2018.
Making your site social allows your users to easily share your content, products, and promote your brand. Just make sure you do it well and think through any possible, unintended consequences.
Still, the fact remains that Facebook ‘like’ and ‘share’ buttons alone are viewed more than 22 billion times daily across more than 7.5m websites.
With that sort of reach combined with the ability to segment users, you have to ask yourself if you can afford to ignore social sharing.
7. Better data means (potentially) better marketing decisions
“The holy grail of marketing is to proactively pounce upon every individual customer opportunity by predicting beforehand who will respond and to preemptively intervene each customer loss by predicting who will defect.”
Dr Eric Siegel, author of Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie or Die
Knowing who your users are means knowing what they do and don’t want. More detailed and reliable data allows you to tailor your business model, monitor trends, and measure how they might impact future demand.
Perhaps more importantly though, social login can help you to eliminate the excuse of “we don’t have enough data to know for sure.”
In two separate studies conducted by Pivot, it was found that most companies haven’t even asked what their social customers wanted.
Of course, this is a major contributing factor to a very wide perception gap—social marketers think they know what customers want, but are pretty far off.
However, with social login, you could create feedback loops to conduct your own surveys (like the one shown above) or collect testimonials, and use the social network ad platforms to target registered users and buyers in the places they’re already spending time online.
Going social improves the quantity and quality of data your marketing team receives, enabling you to make more informed decisions about everything your business does—including marketing and customer retention strategies.
8. 82% of users said they’d consider trying a new product if someone in their social network recommended it
This data from the Blue research study reflects other research we cited in our article on investing in good testimonials.
Nothing beats word-of-mouth recommendations. Not only do you lower your costs to acquire customers (CAC), it also increases your return on investment (ROI).
Getting to know your users and having them share your brand with their networks is a marketers dream.
Social login allows you to go one step further. With integrated friend invite, users don’t simply endorse your brand and products, but can actively invite their friends to engage with your site and content.
The number of potential referrals far surpasses anything marketing teams could manage alone, with users far more likely to check something out if one of their friends has shared it.
However, be aware that any slips in customer service or problems with products can also go viral. Remember how United Airlines came in for a roasting after initially failing to compensate a passenger whose guitar was broken during a flight?
The United Breaks Guitars video on YouTube went viral, and not in a good way for United Airlines. They eventually offered some compensation, but this served as a cautionary tale for all businesses who’ve yet to understand the power ‘going viral’ also gives consumers.
But overall, making it easier to go viral by installing social login and sharing should see you get much more out of your marketing efforts.
For some pointers on how to predict whether you’ll go viral, read this paper on predicting the popularity of YouTube videos.
9. The next generation of social engagement
Adapt or die, so goes the old adage. The world—and internet technology in particular—is evolving so quickly your competition will overtake you and win the race if you don’t stay at the cutting edge.
Just look at Blackberry and Nokia. Once absolute market leaders, they have been outperformed by competitors who saw where the mobile market was heading and understood that customer expectations were changing.
Of course, there’s a lot of discussion around the ‘is social media a fad’ question and it has its fair share of detractors.
We’ve already seen numbers around declining user growth and engagement across social platforms.
Pratik Dholakiya, founder of Growfusely, pointed to falling user rates in many developed economies, including the US and the UK, as a key indicator that social media is ‘on the way out.’
While acknowledging social media user rates continue to rise in developing economies, Dholakiya believes that privacy concerns and user discomfort with being so visible will eventually drive social media’s popularity down.
Dholakiya does not, however, suggest abandoning social media marketing altogether, stressing that it is a niche business, and marketers had better use it as such (see my points 5, 6, and 7 above).
“You can segment your audience by interests and commercial intent. Let’s put the focus back on niches. Stop trying to appeal to everybody with the same message. Go where you audience is. Pratik Dholakiya, founder of Growfusely
The lesson here is that you need a clear social media marketing strategy that does more than rely on headlines, and also can distinguish registered users, repeat visitors, and people whose interest profiles are similar to your existing customers.
Social login in combination with social ad solutions like Facebook custom audiences, Facebook retargeting, and interest targeting allow you to deliver more personalized experiences over the social networks.
In theory, you can also use social login data to promote upselling and cross-selling in the social feeds based on existing purchases, but that’s a conversation for another time.
If you’ve been on the fence about introducing social login for your ecommerce site, hopefully this has given you enough to consider.
Of course, I’m an established fan, so I’m keen to spread the word and get some feedback from users and website owners alike.
If you have any questions or want to agree/disagree with me, ask me anything you’d like in the comments below.
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Very good stuff! There are a large number of Facebook accounts. I think there are few people, unless they’re seniors who don’t bother with social media, that don’t have a Facebook account.
This can make free products that sell ads or other bi-products really effective because now you have more data about your users and you know their “interests”, their location and so on.
I’ve been implementing social login into my system but I never saw the potential until reading this article.
You’d be surprised SI, the 55+ age category has consistently been the fastest growing age group (at least in the US) over the past several years.
Many of the seniors I know use it to stay in touch with their grandkids & their adult children.
The data in this article does show that they’re less inclined to use social login, however, this also corresponds to the data that shows the older generation is less inclined to shop online (period)
I haven’t looked at this extensively enough, but I’d be curious to see how/if these data points correlate and if the averages reveal a cohesive trend among those who do shop online & use social login.
Great to hear you liked the article SI!
Tommy is right, the 55+ group is definitely becoming more social. An interesting fact we found when we analyzed our quarterly stats on social login and sharing trends is that the older generations are more likely to return to a website if they choose to login with social.
Could somebody please tell me if I choose to use a social login — does the company on the other end ALSO have access to my connections/friends etc. and therefore could contact THEM in some kind of marketing routine? I hope to “Orwellian” not. I can’t figure why this article wouldn’t include that important piece of information, as surely this must be a barrier to entry.
Thanks for raising the concerns. Let me clarify:
1) The social login providers (for example LoginRadius) don’t own user data and has no right to use the data in any way. This is not only protected by LoginRadius but also by users’ social network such as Facebook, Google, Twitter and so on.
2) When you sign-up through social account, websites always ask you type of data they want to gather from you, so if you do not want to share that, you can decline the data sharing. Websites cannot get your friends’ all information but they may ask you to share their first and last names – that’s pretty much it.
3) Regarding posting something on your profile, websites need to get permission from you . They can push something only after your consent. So, as a user, you have full-control over what needs to be posted.
4) Regarding posting something on a friend’s profile, the websites need to get permission from you. Most of the social networks do not allow posting on a user’s friend profiles.
I hope this addresses the concerns.
Hey, I work at SocialSign.in and we’re doing some really cool things with social login and WiFi access at businesses and venues. We’ve helped boost engagement by interacting with on-site customers. If you’re interested in learning more, shoot me an email we’d love to chat or do an interview.
I HATE social logins. It feels like a completely unnecessary invasion of privacy, and I’m not going to give every random website on the internet access to my personal information so they can try to sell me crap. And yes, I am a marketer myself.
Personally, I’m with you. However, I have found myself using Social Logins more, simply because I’m signing up for more things over my phone.
It’s important to also keep in mind that it’s how the data is used that makes all the difference in the world. There are some companies where it doesn’t seem like “marketing” at all, but rather a well timed suggestion, and that is what you should strive for.
Unfortunately though, many marketers still use the information to poorly batch information rather than take the time to dissect it and use it to customize not just the delivery, but the messaging itself.
Having implemented social sign-on on dozens of large e-commerce sites, I can tell you that I’m still completely on the fence.
There is no question that shoppers hate creating additional accounts and entering data, and social sign-on offers a solution to these objections.
However, I still see MAJOR usability issues with social sign-on. Shoppers get confused about if they have an account vs. social credential, which social credential they used, etc… Password recovery attempts are often very high from users that have a social credential.
At the end of the day, it really depends on a sites specific user base. In general, I see far too many sites that “think” capturing accounts is high value, when in reality they should just be creating far better, more seamless guest experiences.
Thanks for your comment, Jason.
There might be some usability issue among non-social savvy users, however, here are a few ideas you can easily fix that:
1) Develop an feature for users to retrieve what social account that logged in i.e. “Forgot Your ID Provider?”. It’s similar to “Forgot your password?”. We’ve this feature on our website (www.loginradius.com) and a few users use it everyday and found it very effective. (Highly recommended)
2) All your users to link their social accounts to your website account, so they can login either with usernames/passwords or with their social account. (Highly recommended)
3) Every time a user signs up, automatically create user’s username/password and email it to him/her. This way, the user will have both the option to login next time. (Not recommended)
4) Offer no typical registration system (highly recommended if you’re launching a new site). That’s what Pinterest did in it’s early phase, Medium is doing that, and it has been very successful. It is very effective to eliminate non-serious and fake users. For existing sites, you can migrate everyone to social sign-on and disable typical registration process.
I totally agree with you that it’s not just about capturing users’ email address but creating amazing experience. Social login eliminates the friction in signing-up process making it the key ingredient to deliver that seamless guest experience. And then it comes with tonnes of other benefits as discussed in this blog.
Right here is the perfect blog for everyone who wishes to understand this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa). You definitely put a brand new spin on a subject that has been discussed for ages. Excellent stuff, just great!
Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very helpful information specially the last part :) I care for such information much. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.
Thanks for the comment and the compliments Selma! I’m glad you enjoyed the article.
Thanks for leaving a comment. That’s great that you found my article informative. Feel free to reach out or visit our blog (www.blog.loginradius.com) if you’d like more information on the subject or have any questions.
Great article I love the stats on shoppers who use social media but I have yet to see any data on how this has increased eCommerce conversions.
Can anyone point me in the right direction to an A/B test that showed statistically significant conversions, better yet revenue. Any long term/short term tests?
I intend on testing this myself but I’d love to see the data before.
Glad you liked the article!
While I don’t have any proven cases of increased revenue, other than discussions I have had with some of my customers at LoginRadius, I have a few resources that could be helpful.
In conversations I have had we have heard of up to a 63% increase in conversion rates from implementing social login.
Hubspot did a great inforgraphic on social commerce revenue and found that 82% of the top 25 commerce companies are using a social login option. blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-ecommerce-revenue-infographic
This article also shows some commerce and social login stats. They found that 40% of the people they surveyed prefer social login and spend triple the amount of time on a site.
I know that is not exactly what you were looking for, but I hope it helps!
Hello. Great post man! I have a question though, when people use Facebook to login, do we still obtain their email address somehow? Is there a way to do that? Because we still want to obtain their details for email marketing
Hi Rakesh, great information! We have started using social logins for most of our ecommerce clients and also for one of the dating websites we market for. It is incredible how much it helps with the conversion. Thank you for putting this article together
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