Have You "Signed In" With Facebook Recently?

The online registration page has always been a necessary evil. Despite the obvious need to collect customer information online, 11% of US adults have previously abandoned an online purchase either because  they didn't want to register online or the site they were visiting was asking for too much information. Many websites make it downright difficult to register, with seemingly endless input fields, complex password requirements and even annoying captchas all conspiring to make the process of buying online incredibly frustrating. To put this in context, a retailer with $200m of annual online revenues could be leaving a further $22m on the table simply due to the complexity of the registration step in their checkout process. But this is old news. For years eBusiness professionals have obsessed with optimizing the registration process, using A/B and multivariate testing to try and find the right balance between collecting enough customer information and exasperating their customers.

However, the days of optimizing the registration process may be fast coming to an end. In fact the playbook on customer registration tactics is being completely rewritten as a new and increasingly familiar button takes hold across the web: 

Welcome to the era of "Social Authentication". No longer must customers fill in yet another registration form and create yet another password. With social authentication, users simply identify themselves through their favorite social network or email provider via a single mouse click. In my latest research report "Using Facebook Login To Your Advantage" I take a closer look at why social login is gaining popularity among consumers and the reasons behind the adoption of this technology by leading online retailers, media firms and consumer brands like Sears, Groupon, Netflix and Nike.  

Social authentication also makes life easier for customers that return to the same site over and over again. In today's world, many users are already logged into Facebook, Google or Twitter when they visit a third party website or online store, which in turn, means they can be automatically treated as authenticated users. The social identity providers guarantee the identity of the user, leaving eBusiness professionals free to concentrate on delivering a highly contextual and personalization online experience. Furthermore, in my report I discuss the other tactical and strategic reasons for implementing social authentication options as well as taking a look at the common concerns that eBusiness professional have around privacy and ownership of the customer relationship. 


For me facebook is a modern

For me facebook is a modern secret service tracking people for 24 hours,they have files of everybody
and know more about you than FBI and CIA. With every photo,every chat,every click you are tracked and observed.


You mention "taking a look at the common concerns that eBusiness professional have around privacy and ownership of the customer relationship." Do you also delve into privacy concerns that perhaps Social Media users should have?

Consumers must understand their tolerance for sharing

Hi Kit,

I don't explicitly look at this from the consumer perspective, other than to advise brands to request only the permissions they really need. Those brands that request access to information like date of birth, friends, home city or relationship status must have very clear reasons for doing so, as consumers will have uncertainties around sharing this information without knowing exactly how a brand intends to use it.

I've seen some brands request "offline" access to the users profile, thereby allowing them access to the social graph at anytime in the future. This is certainly intrusive and I would ask any brand that is doing this, why they need offline access to the users social graph.

Consumer's must balance their trust of a brand with their tolerance for sharing personal information when using social login. This tolerance will likely be different according to the scenario.


My love/hate relationship with Facebook

I'm not comfortable with all the personal information Facebook takes, but I write more than enough on my blog so I suppose it's a give. Facebook has never seen my financial information and never will. http://meantforsomethingbetter.com/2012/02/28/facebook-lovehate/ I had to vent earlier...that was the product.

Asking for Too Much Information

You mention that "websites make it downright difficult to register, with seemingly endless input fields". Asking for too much information can be discouraging for users.

Well, the same thing goes for social login. Take Facebook for example. So much information is available via their social login but it is important to gage what is really required to improve your service or you risk scaring users away from adopting this login method. Note that users are always prompted at first login to give the website permission to certain profile data. If the list is too long, it WILL discourage many! Find the balance between the data you need and the data you want or else you'll be perceived as well... creepy.


Hi Alex, You are absolutely

Hi Alex,

You are absolutely correct that brands that use Facebook login must act in a responsible manner and only request access to profile data that they absolutely need. Those that get greedy and ask for extended privileges like "offline access" are likely to scare off many potential registrants. There is a fine balance between the service being perceived as useful versus creepy.