Users want many options as IDs across the web
Online content publishers that want users to sign in without having to register separately on nearly every site they visit have recognized the benefits of social sign-on, which lets visitors use preexisting identities to log in anywhere around the web.
According to an August 2010 study conducted by Edge Research for social sign-on provider Gigya, the most important benefits online retailers and media-entertainment publishers found in social sign-on were an increase in engagement (84%) and access to more profile data for targeting and customization (80%).
These were also among the benefits publishers implementing social sign-on capabilities most hoped to achieve, along with making it even easier to share content on social networks, gaining earned-media exposure.
Social Sign-On* Benefits that Will Be Achieved According to US Online Retailers and Online Media/Entertainment Publishers, Aug 2010 (% of respondents)
The study found that 31% of publishers and 18% of ecommerce outlets studied had fully implemented a social sign-on solution, while most of the rest were working on or planning implementations of their own. Just 15% of media and entertainment publishers had no plans for the service, a number that rose to 31% among ecommerce sites.
Sites that are planning to allow users to sign in with a preexisting ID should be sure to give visitors many options. A study by user management platform Janrain of how users around the world signed in via its widget shows no clear leader, and differences depending on the type of site.
Overall, about two in five users signed in to websites with a Google ID, and another quarter with a Facebook account. But when sharing content from retail brand sites, Facebook was the leader at 45%, followed by Yahoo! at 23%. Facebook was even further ahead on magazine sites (57%, vs. 20% for Google) and music sites (55%, with Twitter in second at 18%). On news sites Yahoo! was the leader.
Social Network ID that Social Network Users Worldwide Use to Sign In to Websites to Share Content, 2010 (% of total)
An earlier study by Gigya found Facebook sign-ins in the lead on media sites, while nearly half of those sharing news content signed in via Twitter.
While users don’t want to go through a separate registration process for each site, they do already have “multiple identities,” and often use different identities for different purposes. Content publishers and retailers that want to tap into the profile data and sharing capabilities of preexisting IDs must provide a variety of sign-in options not just to capture users who might (still) not have a Facebook account, but to allow all visitors to choose the most appropriate match for the site they are on.