Social Butterflies: Why You Should (or Shouldn’t) Be Using Social Login for Your Apps

So you’ve created the perfect app. You’ve checked and nobody has what you’ve created. The store is stocked with products. The services provided are something users have been wanting for a long time. Your in-app messaging is nailed down. You wire-framed it, created a minimum viable product, you implemented user stories in its inception, made it the best that it could possibly be, put it on market, and you’re ready to go.

But once you put it out in the market, something dawned on you: you need people to sign up or register for your app. You realized that having people register is the only way you’re going to track conversions, user data, and metrics.

You’re sitting at a crossroads now: do you use Social Login like many other apps before you, or do you rely on email signups and your own system of user activity and data tracking?

We’ve compiled the ultimate list of benefits and disadvantages for Social Logins to help you decide if it’s right for you and your app, as well as suggestions for successful implementations if you decide to move forward with it.


What is Social Login and Should I Even Consider it?

Social Login is effectively the means through which people have the option to login to your app or website using their Facebook, Twitter, Google+ accounts, or whichever account you find most relevant and provides the most crucial data you need for the specific service or product you’re offering.

For instance, if your goal is connecting users to thrift-store furniture, you might consider a Pinterest login option so that you can view their desired look and avoid connecting them with products they wouldn’t be interested in. Say you’re app is the newest, biggest thing in photo-taking and video-capturing, to which you might want Twitter or Facebook for ease of upload and sharing.

Social Logins have a litany of both advantages and disadvantages for both users and developers that may make you second guess whether or not it’s crucial for your service. The first question to ask yourself is if it is even worth it for your app. Does it make sense to have a social login? Do you need a login at all? What does Social Login provide you that simple email registration cannot?


Benefits and Disadvantages for Users and Developers

Login and password fatigue

One of the biggest benefits for Social Login is password fatigue – users have way too many accounts and passwords to remember in general, and they don’t want another one to remember. In fact, they hardly use the apps they’ve had to register for because they don’t want to indulge in the painstaking process of receiving an email to reset their password, verify their identity, authenticate their app, and so forth.

Providing Social Login is an easy means through which users can easily connect their online ecosystem and multiple digital selves to craft a much larger personalized experience that continues to proliferate and condense their desires and preferences into centralized locations with a few branches here and there. In short, it saves users the time and effort required to both create a new account via email and go through the process of verification. You can gain tremendous visitor data this way.


The potential problem?  

Security and trust are largely huge concerns of users. By opening up more pathways between accounts, users are opening themselves up for potential data breaches across platforms, and they know it. They might not also trust your app to take care of their data and use it in a proper way. They might also be wary of your app potentially posting too many things to their Facebook feed – something they have carefully curated and want no spam or third-party posts on.

You also run the risk of turning off those users reluctant to use Social Login and want to register with email, especially if you’ve invested more time and effort in developing a streamline, standardized connection to Social Logins. People are reluctant to share their data for any old website, and this lack of trust can be an immediate turn-off.


User Data and a Curated, Personalized Experience

Social Logins provide the developer with a significant amount of data about users’ preferences and desires that they may not otherwise have access to simply through app activity and email signups. By utilizing Social Login, the developer gets access to all kinds of demographics information that helps craft a much more personalized experience for the user.

Example? By knowing that they hate a certain brand, dislike the color red, and favor fair trade products, you can ensure that there is less spam and mis-targeted messaging when trying to advertise your app’s products or services. Targeted content is key in ensuring a successful user experience, after all. They don’t want a bunch of messages that are completely irrelevant to their behaviors. Plus you get a lot more information this way than you would if you simply have them sign up via email – what does email really tell you about someone?

Knowing that your user does this or that, is a heavy app user with a strong social media presence means that you know to increase your outreach and hit them with retention efforts. Knowing that they’re only casual users of social media and apps helps you personalize your approach towards them with something a little more


The potential problem?

Sometimes users don’t always provide a significant amount of information on their social media accounts, or they provide information that doesn’t really reflect their desires, preferences, or buying habits. Relying solely on this data means that you run the risk of actually targeting them with things they’re not interested in, which can be a huge turnoff in our contemporary world of personalized digital experiences.

Additionally, too many brands, so little time. If you’ve worked hard to develop a brand and specific set of identifiers for your company, it can get lost by connecting your Social Login to various social media apps. The user is far more familiar with Twitter or Facebook than your service, and by using Social Login, you’re in many ways redirecting the user right back to their social media without necessarily driving them back to your site.


Suggestions for Implementation

So you’ve decided yes, I’m going to use Social Login for my app. It makes the most sense, provides the most user data, and allows your app to sit comfortably within the digital ecosystem of a user so that it remains a part of their digital identity and process. Here are a few suggestions for properly implementing Social Login

  • Purpose and Clarity: make sure that it is clear to the user – and to the developer – why you’re using Social Logins at all. Does it make sense to have a Social Login? What do you need or plan to use the user data for? Do you even need that information? Make sure you clearly explain to the user why they ought to signup via Social Login, and how you’ll use their data.
  • Prominence and Ease of Sign-Up: Make it clear and easy for users to use Social Login. Display it prominently on your front page, or ask users to sign-up after they’ve reached a certain milestone rather than simply requiring it upfront. This allows the user to feel like they’re far more in control, and that they’ve gained knowledge of and trust in your app before providing sensitive information. Provide incentives! If you’ve got a game app, make sure you don’t over-post (or post at all) on their feed, and provide them with a few extra coins or gems or what-have-you. If you run a store, provide them with the incentive of a set of coupons. If they’re going to give you access to all of your data, then you need to give them something in return. It’s only fair.
  • Don’t Forget your Email Users: Don’t expend all of your energy on creating a streamlined Social Login process. A lot of people are going to sign up via email, and many of them might feel turned off if you specifically cater to users willing to use Social Login. Also make sure you implement metrics that account for both kinds of users, as both will provide separate data and you need proper data management to measure their activity. Furthermore, make it an optional sign-up. Don’t force them to use it, as that’s a huge turn-off. Also, make it clear how they can opt-out of having their social media accounts linked up without losing access to your app entirely.
  • Privacy policies, restrictions, and transparency: How many times have you simply accepted the terms and conditions of an updated privacy policy without actually reading the hundreds of pages and legalese involved in the content? Yes, you want to make sure you actually have that specific language in your privacy policy, but we recommend creating a “tl;dr” section so that users can easily understand specifically what security protocols you’re using to protect their data in a matter of minutes.