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Why Social Login is more than just a login process

Updated on March 9, 2016

Being a B2C business, how many people among your target audience do you think would be living without a Facebook profile, or a Twitter or LinkedIn profile? A very marginal proportion, the kind of people who are not really social or are averse to projected themselves online. But in any case, a very high proportion of your target audience is already using social networks. Remember this as point number one.

The second point you will need to remember before we get into the core of this article is about the biggest hurdle that your customers face before getting inside your website. Obviously, you are not operating a static site and have privileged access which means your customers sign up for your website and then login each time they come to transact with you. The purpose of the customer is to make a purchase or access some service (depending on the nature of your business), but your login process is like a speed-breaker on the highway. From your perspective, you need customers to login so you identify them, authenticate them and authorize them. It’s a process you can’t avoid. From the customer’s perspective, this is unnecessary because it is asking him or her to do something that is not the primary objective. A sign up process is a barrier that should be torn down.

With two pointers in mind, let’s get to real business now.

The Sign up and sign in hurdle

At this point, you need to understand that neither yours nor your customer’s perspectives on sign in are wrong. To each his own. A customer just needs to conform to his or her own standpoints. But as a business, you have to accommodate your perspective as well as that of your customer. Which means you need to have login but you shouldn’t have it at the same time. The first point we asked you to remember will solve this conundrum for you. Social networks as a solution to the login barrier is called Social Login. Social Login brings a horde of benefits while solving some of the fundamental problems that you face as a business. It was intended to solve the conundrum we mentioned earlier but turned out to be a solution to many other issues businesses grapple with on a daily basis.

Social Login
Social Login

What is Social Login?

Social Login is the use of an existing customer social identity to sign in to your website. So, instead of signing up specifically on your website, your customers, who are already registered on Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn, or any social network for that matter, use those same credentials and directly login to your website. Customers can log out using the same process as usual. Basically, it is logging into your website with a social network provisioned identity. This also means that from your end, the provisioning step in the identity lifecycle is removed.

How can I accept a Facebook (or any other network) username and password?

This is a very fundamental question here. By doing away with the provisioning step from the identity lifecycle at your end, you are not holding a database of usernames and password for the purpose of authentication. But you are trusting Facebook or Twitter to do that for you. In very simple terms, upon enabling Social Login, you ask your customers to directly present their credentials on your website which is then sent to the social network for verification. The social network then performs the authentication process and tells you if the credentials are correct or not. If they are correct, you log the customer in. So essentially you are depending on the social network for authentication but it’s not a bad thing to do.

Customers don’t require another username and password combination

Apart from the visible ease of access for customers, Social Login lessens the burden of remembering one more username and password combination. Already on average, customers between in the age 25 to 34 years old have 40 accounts. Which is 40 username and password combinations. Agreed, most of them use common passwords but it can’t be the same password throughout 40 accounts at least because of different password policies. But with Social Login, your customers are basically reusing one of their existing accounts and don’t have to remember another one increasing the count to 41.

Businesses get access to ready data

Like we pointed earlier, the benefits of Social Login don’t end with removing the sign up hurdle or the need to remember passwords. More than that, it brings tonnes of usefulness for you. After customers sign in with their social accounts, you are empowered to capture their personal data from their existing social account. Their name, address, age, date of birth, hobbies and whatever they have already put up, all in one step. Big Data platform Datafloq points out that social login is platinum value. If you have a custom registration process, it is extremely unlikely that you can extract all of this data from the customer in the entire lifecycle, leave alone one step. And if you’ve been in business long, you will know that customer data is the ultimate asset in the B2C sector. And all this is equal to first party data that businesses love to have. At the same time, you are also able to provide a much more personalized experience for your customers.

No more fake data

With custom registration process at your end, you are basically asking your customers to provide you with their personal data. It’s all cool but are you insured against fake data. Because customers don’t really want to fill all those fields or give their personal phone numbers of email addresses for fear of being spammed, you will not be sure if you are getting the right data. And because you don’t know if a particular customer’s data is authentic or not until you have tried using it. And until you do, you are basically burning your time and energies on fake data. With Social Login, you get access to their existing social data and extract it directly. The chances that this data will be authentic is much higher than that through custom registration.

Customers spend more time on your website

We are not really vouching for this but Facebook claims that customers logged in through Social Login spend more time on that website. More time on your website is obviously better than a hush-hush visit and is likely to increase the chances of a transaction. At the same time, customers are identified by their social identities on your websites which makes them comfortable to share things from your website. Had they logged in with their email addresses (custom registration), they would have had to separately login again to their social profiles to share your content which is obviously unlikely. Social Login also helps improve

Which networks can customers use to login?

That’s totally up to you. There are tens of social networks running today but you obviously can’t provide ready access to all of them. At best, you can provide ready access to Social Login for three networks so as not to spoil the visual aspect of your website. Now you have to decide what these three networks should be. Facebook nominates itself leaving two spots open. Selection has to be made on the basis of your target audience and the social networks they like to use, in addition to other factors like network popularity by geographical location and likewise. It’s simple evaluation.


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