How Social Login Enhances Websites

social media reviewsDo you manage a site that encourages people to create user accounts?

Are you looking for an easy way to tap the power of Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn to quickly create user identities?

If so, keep reading for my review of a social service that we used to quickly build up members of our Networking Clubs.

Why Social Login?

Once people login to their favorite social network, they generally don’t log out. Most people have a social account with one of the major social networks.  This means their photograph and contact details are already registered elsewhere.

If you want to make it super-simple for people to create accounts using your network, why not simply integrate social login? Two rather large networks, Pinterest and Klout, both require folks use either Facebook or Twitter to even create an account.

Both of the above services leverage social login to quickly bring people into their networks.

The major advantages of social login include:

  • Rapid signup/user adoption: People won’t need to type a thing, they’ll simply grant your system access to their existing credentials.
  • Photo integration: Social networks allow you to import the photograph of the user into your system immediately.
  • Email contact: Many social networks allow you to pull in contact details from the user (such as an email address), making it very easy to allow you to communicate with users.
  • Spam reduction: Because social networks authenticate individuals and generally don’t allow multiple accounts, the likelihood of false identities and spammers goes down.

Review: Gigya Social Login

When we began developing our Networking Clubs, we knew a social login tool would be a perfect fit for our audience.  In our case, nearly all of our readers have some sort of social account with Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter. I identified Gigya’s Social Login tool as a good match for our requirements.  I agreed to write an honest review in exchange for complementary use of the tool. What follows is my review and our experience.

Here’s a quick video showing how Social Login works:

How Social Media Examiner Uses Social Login

At the start of our social login project, Gigya assigned us a usability expert who helped us refine the signup process.  This service would prove instrumental to our successful implementation.

Social Login Location

As the picture below shows, we decided to focus on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for our social login capabilities.  We also placed the login in a prominent position near the top of each page.

We made social login buttons easy to locate at the top of each page.

Our goal was to create an intuitive method for folks to easily create an account or sign into an existing account via a social network.

We decided to focus on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn only.

How Social Login Works

A new user simply clicks on one of the social login icons at the top of the page.  We created an introductory video instructing folks to click one of those icons to quickly create an account.

In the image below, you can see what happens when someone chooses LinkedIn. Because each network has different data it’s willing to reveal, LinkedIn only pulled in the photo and name of the user.  The system then requests the user’s email address to complete the account setup process.

Here's an example of what happens when a user clicks the LinkedIn social login icon for the first time.

In future visits to our Networking Clubs, the system recognizes that user has signed up using LinkedIn (as shown below) and allows the user to check back in with the click of a button.

Gigya Social Login is smart enough to recognize a returning user and suggest a simple path to sign in.

Connecting Social Accounts

One of the cool features of Gigya’s service is the ability to connect social accounts to any existing account. What this means is that any user can connect his or her existing social accounts to the account in our system. 

This allows a user to sign back in with ANY connected network, without having to remember usernames or passwords. In our case, we included instructions in our Welcome video and Getting Started guide that suggest users link up all of their social accounts.

Users can connect social accounts to their existing account, making social login with any network seamless.

Our Results

The reason we wanted social login was to greatly simplify the registration process for new users to our Networking Clubs. A significant 83% of all people who signed up used Gigya’s Social Login to register.

This was clearly a huge win for us. At the time of this writing, we have more than 3500 people in our Networking Clubs.

Gigya’s Social Login has operated seamlessly with very few issues. There were a few short-term problems where users could not log in due to bugs that were quickly resolved by Gigya.  We were able to circumvent issues by increasing the number of days a user could be logged in without needing to log in again.

Important Considerations Before Adding Social Login

As with any complicated system like social login, you will need to employ developers to integrate Gigya’s Social Login with your network.

In our case, Social Media Examiner’s Networking Clubs are built on BuddyPress (which is an extension of WordPress).  Gigya did not have a sophisticated plugin to support WordPress or BuddyPress.  Thus, we needed to develop one. This entire process slowed down the launch of our beta site.

Setting up access with the various social networks is a bit of a chore.  Gigya did provide useful instructions, but I still found the process rather laborious.

Gigya Social Login is built for larger websites and larger businesses.  Smaller organizations may find the solution to be more costly than they can afford.  However, Gigya is used by very large websites and can accommodate significant traffic and users without batting an eye.

In summary, I would absolutely recommend social login to any business that wants to build up a network of users.  Gigya’s Social Login has worked very well for our needs.

What do you think? Have you used social login on other sites?  Do you have a social login solution for your own site?  Leave your questions and comments in the box below.

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About the Author, Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner is the founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner, founder of My Kids' Adventures and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers. He's also the host of the Social Media Marketing podcast. Other posts by »




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  • http://www.TheSocialNetworkShow.com/ Jim Nico

    Really like your article here and your style. Thank you, Jim Nico, CEO/Founder/ Co-Host
    http://www.TheSocialNetworkShow.com

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  • dotcomminimogul

    You make a good point – this is a great feature for larger websites.  One thing to keep in mind for people wanting to integrate social media – give readers/members the option of logging in without social media.  It can cut both ways if (and this does happen!) the person doesn’t have social media or wants to comment without tying it to their social media accounts.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    I fully agree.  That is why we have both.

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  • http://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/blog Mandy Kilinskis

    Totally agree. Potential customers that aren’t into social media will be annoyed if they don’t have an option to log in sans social media account. They can – and will – get discouraged and never come back.

    But for those of us that like connecting with a click of a button, bring on the social log in!!

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  • Dan

    Thanks for explaining it. I’ve been wondering how it worked. Any chance you’ll release the plugin you developed to the WordPress community?

  • Navigator Multimedia

    Users want to be assured that their social log-in information is secure and that nothing will be posted to their Twitter/Facebook/YouTube accounts on their behalf. By adding a clickable note on the log-in page to assure users that their accounts will stay secure, you further encourage social log-ins as an efficient, safe way to connect with new programs!

    Cheers,
    Sarah Bauer
    Navigator Multimedia

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Sarah – Social login tech provides extreme privacy these days because identity is authenticated by the social network, like Facebook.  That is why you get all that detail about precisely what is shared each time you setup any initial account using social login.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Dan – It is highly customized for our application, so unlikely in the cards.

  • Mwiedder

    Michael….would you mind sharing who customized you Gigya app and how long it took them to do it?

    Thank you

  • http://Www.ingage.co.nz/ Jacqui

    As a charity needing to drive membership numbers I think this could be a valuable tool to start developing a connection. Have you encountered or could you recommend any other providers that are targeting not-for-profits?

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Not sure I understand what you asking?  What Gigya app?  If you mean WordPress, it was our developer

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hi Jacqui – I would think it would depend on how big your charity is.

  • http://twitter.com/MikeGRad6 MikeGRad6

    I couldn’t agree more. Thankfully more and more sites are implementing this format. You don’t always have world shattering insights to post on an article, sometimes you just want to recognize the author for their work. Even if you do have something absolutely essential to share with the world if you meet an obstacle like having to create a username and a password for a site you’re probably not going to bother. Ease of sharing is where it’s at.

    Michael Girard
    Community Engagement, Radian6

  • http://jeffroach.ca/ @jeffroach

    Great article, Michael. Thanks. We installed social login to our social business learning platform last month using Janrain.

  • Mwiedder

    I am talking about the gigya social login app…was that programmed by your developer or did you contract that out and how long did that component take?

    Thanks

  • http://www.facebook.com/brendonchill Brendon Chill

    Dan – If you are looking to easily add social login to your WordPress site you can checkout ONEsite’s SSO plugin. It is easy to signup and install and you get 10K API request free each month.  http://www.onesite.com/node/ssoSignup

    Cheers,
    Brendon

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  • http://twitter.com/katiekeenan Katie Keenan

    Thanks for mentioning Janrain! For those interested, Janrain has a free version of social login for smaller sites here http://www.janrain.com/products/engage/pricing along with a WordPress Plugin that works with BuddyPress here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/rpx. 

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  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Vince-Edwards/677361865 Vince Edwards

    I actually like how you gave gigya a plug, but at the same time didnt seem to kiss their butt, by being honest and saying how much of a hassle it was.  ha. nice.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Michael!

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Thanks Jeff – We ruled them out as they could not fully provide the level of support we needed.

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Try me offline at mike at socialmediaexaminer.com

  • http://jeffroach.ca/ @jeffroach

    We’re happy with them but will consider their support coverage.

  • Kim

    I really like the idea of social login but am thinking of introducing affiliate links at some stage and think for that it would be good to know which country people are in which I don’t think you can capture with social login?

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ Michael A. Stelzner

    Hey Kim – Actually you can interface social login with existing systems and ask for added questions as part of the registration process.  The folks at Gigya can best answer if Facebook reveals nation.  Not sure Twitter even asks.

  • http://inlinevision.com/ Michael Currey

    so what about websites that requrire more information than what a social login will give them? like e-commerce sites? there’s no shipping info there… and I’m not sure but don’t you give up the ability to get an email address?

  • VictorWhite

    Hi Michael – we actually are working with PayPal to offer an ecommerce specific login option called PayPal Access (http://blog.gigya.com/tag/paypal/). The product will pass shipping and other information to the retailer. Feel free to send me a note if you’d like to hear more: victor (at) gigya.com. 

  • http://strategy-keys.com/ David Willden

    Thanks for the article. 

    I wish Gigya wasn’t so expensive.  I tried setting up a free version of Janrain – but wasn’t savvy enough to be able to do.  Any recommendations on other alternatives with social login,  CRM and insights included? 

    Regards, 
    David 
    http:/strategy-keys.com

  • Femi Olubodun

    @ Mike: How much the does the Gigya Social Login cost? I’m a business development executive for a digital communications company in Nigeria. I would love to recommend social logins for a client who needs to increase registrations for a project. 

  • TimHeckhausen

    Excellent article again. 

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  • http://vipsaccess.com/ VIPsAccess

    Great article, I’m considering integrating social login to my site as well but I didn’t know the cost could be exorbitant Mike. Will wait until the site grows much bigger I guess but it’s so convenient… 

  • http://www.facebook.com/mathias.hillerup Mathias Hillerup Larsen

    Very nice article, and I can only agree that social login is a very good solution.

  • rmsorg

    Great article, I believe the less “friction” a visitor/customer has to deal with the better odds of having them a) Sign up and B) Return to the site the website/Company has.  

    Great article and thanks for providing an honest post about your experience with Gigya.

    RMSorg
    WallStreetBranding

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  • Chris Duke

    Just curious – I Googled ‘Social Login WordPress’ and find a couple of plugins – did you evaluate any of these first? i.e. Social Connect or Social Login?

  • http://www.lanoba.com/ Beth Thouin

    Excellent blog Mike! Glad to hear that social login was a success for you. Another important feature to mention is that social login collects the user profile data for incredible marketing insight.

    Lanoba is a social login solution for all companies sizes with in-depth analytics. Kim, our analytics include countries! See more at http://www.lanoba.com/social-demographic-analytics.

    Retweet us @lanoba:twitter for a free package. Give me a shout if you have any questions beth@lanoba.com.

  • Login Radius

    I likes this article a lot.I very much appreciate the idea of social login.And as now the world is revolving around social media and social networking why don’t we opt for a social login integration .Gigya and now LoginRadius has made this task easier by enabling social login via many  providers.

  • http://www.lanoba.com/ Beth Thouin

    I am glad to hear social login was a success for SME! Another advantage to mention is the user profile and behavioral data collected at the point of login. This is powerful data for marketers!

    Kim, if you are looking for location, look into the Lanoba! They have location in their analytics. And they are priced for all company sizes.

  • soamcom

    Thanks for the article. I am researching Social Login for my WordPress site (pre-launch) and the Gigya experience is quite good, but it’s too costly for me for now. I’m looking into oneall’s social login plugin for WordPress at the moment, in conjunction with Buddypress. Anyone have experience with oneall?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=727087758 Michael Bates

    Hi, thanks for the article, I’m a completely new to this and I am looking for a social login tool that will also allow my users to add comments to posts etc, just like you have here, what software powers this part of your site, for example if I go the Janrain path does it include this?

  • http://hanulovers.com/ Sudeep Acharya

    Hi…

    I am looking for a social login for my website.
    I am a newbie so hosting with freehostia and tried 4 such plugins but no luck till now.
    Couple of them said that curl needs to be activated, while another said that https should be active and finally another provider said ur hoster does not allow other sites.
    Do u have a solution.
    Any help will be highly appreciated.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/Dr.Agave Jerry Nettik

    I love the convenience of logging on with Social Media. That being said, I’m doing my taxes online at H&R Block, and they give me the option of logging on to my HRB account with Facebook …. are you kidding me, that’s never going to happen! What were they thinking?

  • Mike

    Is there a Pinterest social login plugin for WordPress?
    Do Pinterest allow this feature?
    Someone let me know.
    Thanks.







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