Posted May 21, 2014 6:12 pm by with 2 comments

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Login choicesI hate logging in to anything. More often than not, it’s a painful process and the more secure the website the greater the pain. I don’t understand it. We can teach a car to park itself but I can’t log-in to shop online without 5 tries and 2 password resets! It’s no wonder hackers dedicate their time to hacking user data – it’s revenge for time wasted!

All of this could be avoided if everyone would just implement a choice of social logins. (Or one, because a choice causes all new issues.)

A new report from Forrester says that 90% of consumers who are given the option, will use a social login. They don’t like. They don’t trust it but they do it because it’s easy. Because they don’t have to fill out a page full of little boxes and the next time they come to the site they won’t have to struggle with the username and password.

It’s dead simple.

And yet. . .only 17% of the businesses they surveyed said they use social logins. 54% said they had no interest in them at all. Bad move. . . maybe.

Forrester says social logins are worth it because it allows you to collect more data on your customer including likes, activity and demographic information. Used wisely, this data can help you personalize the customer experience and that’s always a good thing.

Forrester also says,

One of the most overlooked benefits of social login is that profile data can help inform your nonsocial marketing programs like email or product marketing. 24 Hour Fitness uses social login data to identify individuals who promote its member referral program across their social networks. It then sends tailored gift packages to these brand advocates to drive more referrals and increase brand loyalty.

Is there a downside? Maybe. Data gathering is a two-way street. If a Facebook login allows you to see what Facebook sees, does it also allow Facebook to see your data? Facebook says they’re not accessing your company data but that doesn’t mean they can’t and won’t if it becomes profitable to do so. Is that okay with you? With your customers?

Customers already worry that a social login will lead to public postings they’d rather keep quiet. It’s not supposed to happen but the concern is there and real. I’m not worried about my friends seeing which DVDs I bought at Walmart but Mr. Unfaithful could be in for trouble if a jewelry store posts that diamond bracelet purchase on the man’s Facebook page.

The bigger issue is the “but will you.” Sure, social logins could supply you with additional data on your customers so you can customize their experience, but will you? Do you really have the time and energy to dig into the programs and make the changes? If you’re a small biz, probably not.

Having said that, I don’t see a true downside to offering a social login as long as there’s a secondary option. And on the upside, you might gain a regular customer if that person knows they can login every time with a single click.

What do you think? Are social logins a boon or a bust?



  • Frankly, I hate social logins and I rarely use them because about half the sites I see using these plugins are trying to force me into sharing their articles on social media. I don’t leave comments on many articles because of that (which probably cuts down on the number of Disqus flame wars I find myself embroiled in). Social commenting is the new Usenet: trolls and nutcases flourish with these plugins.

  • I love them. They make branding easier.