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Should You Use Social Media Logins on Your Web Site?

If you’ve visited a Web site recently that requires you to login to a customer account, you’ve likely been given the option to use one of your social media accounts to complete the login process. Using a social media login is fast, easy and fairly common. In fact, a recent study confirmed that in the U.S., 77% of Web site visitors have used a social media account to login to the site at least once and 65% use that option “always or often.” Here are a few additional highlights from the survey:

  • 53% of those surveyed say they use social media logins because they don’t want to spend time filling out registration forms
  • 47% use the social media login option because they don’t want to create yet another password to remember
  • 46% believe the sites that use social media logins will sell the data they collect
  • 42% say they believe the site will post to a social network without the individual’s permission
  • 86% feel that data collection companies should be more heavily regulated by the government

In reviewing these numbers, there seems to be something of a paradox: Web site visitors are willing to use social media logins even though they believe the companies will misuse that information in some way. And many would be right to say that this doesn’t make sense. But it does seem to point out that in the online space, convenience and simplicity rule the day. And if you are building or running a Web site today, this should be your take away: your customers expect you to make social media logins available.

Let’s take a look at four benefits of using social media logins within your site.

4 Benefits of Using Social Media Logins Within Your Web Site

1. Simplicity for the End User. As the study data points out, a majority of site visitors want to use social media logins because they believe it will save them time. You may have a lot of data you’d like to collect as part of your customer profiles, but your customers have already set the expectation: keep it simple. They do not want to answer all your questions and provide all the tiny bits of data you want to collect. If you make your registration process complex, they will likely abandon your site and move on elsewhere. So, if you want to retain those site visitors, providing a social media login option can improve your retention of customers.

2. More Data/Better Data on Your Site Visitors. When you offer visitors the chance to use a social media login, you instantly gain access to a lot of profile data (depending on how you setup the permissions for your connection). For example, by allowing a visitor to use his/her Facebook account to login, you now have the potential to connect your visitor, your site and your own Facebook Fan Page together. This will allow you to see better audience demographics. It also improves targeting options for content and advertising. By using a standalone visitor registration process, you would forgo these options and your data would be less valuable.

3. Identification of Customer Social Network Preferences. If you’ve tried to build a following on the various social network available today, you’ve likely encountered a common problem: finding out where your customers like to hang out. Sure, Facebook is a popular choice, but how much of your audience uses Twitter? Google Plus? LinkedIn? By offering a social media login option, you are, in effect, polling your audience to find out which social networks they prefer. You can use this data to refine your social media efforts and build a better connection with your customers.

4. Lower Development Costs. Building a Web site with a registration process can be expensive. And the more you ask for from your site visitors, the more you’re going to pay for development. One way to minimize some of your development costs as it relates to the account creation process is to use social media logins. In many instances, the social networks have pre-packaged code ready to use that requires minimal effort by a developer to fit it to your Web site. This will save you time and money. All while providing your visitors with what they were looking for to begin with.

A Word of Warning About Social Media Logins

As noted above a large number of site visitors prefer to use social media logins. But that doesn’t relieve you of any responsibilities when setting social logins up for your Web site. We strongly recommend that you respect your customers and make clear the ways in which you will use the data gathered from their social network account. Your customers are already leery of companies that collect this data. Show them that you can be trusted by providing clear policies and practices within your Web site that respect their privacy while providing them with a good experience.

Getting Started with Social Media Logins

Social media logins can be very beneficial for your Web site. Not only do they make it easy for your visitors/customers to connect with you, they also lower development costs and provide a wealth of data and insight into customer behaviors. If you’re thinking of implementing social media logins within your Web site, feel free to contact us and let us help you through the process. Atlantic BT has experience helping sites of all sizes implement a social media login strategy that provides the benefits you’re looking for.

About Jon Parks

Jon Parks is a Sr. Consultant with Atlantic BT. With more than 15 years in the digital marketing and communications fields, Jon’s focus has been in  helping companies develop digital marketing strategies to achieve their online marketing goals. You can follow Jon on Twitter (@jonparks), circle him on Google Plus or connect with him on LinkedIn.

*featured image photo credit: mkhmarketing on Flickr

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