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When is it appropriate or inappropriate to use social login buttons? Sometimes it makes a lot of sense, and other times it’s just not worth the trade-offs. But don’t use them because they’re on every other popular app. Use them because they serve a purpose for your business and your users.

  • BK

    Brian Knapp

    almost 5 years ago #

    One thing people miss when they do social logins is that the most valuable thing you are building on a consumer focused app (where social login is most popular), is the user email list. Not every OAuth provider gives you email. For example, twitter doesn't. Facebook I think does. I don't know about Google or LinkedIn.

    So, you are giving up control of the user account to some other 3rd party where they can tell you how much user information you get.

    There is so much value in being able to email your users it's silly to even consider not having your own login be the primary/only way to have a user account.

    If you look at pretty much every successful app at any kind of scale, they have their own user accounts, they send you emails, and it works really well.

    I see the value in connecting social accounts to make sharing easy (when that makes sense), but getting real user accounts is more valuable IMO.

    • OS

      Olexandr Shalakhin

      almost 5 years ago #

      According to the APIs docs you can get email from:
      - Facebook
      - Google
      - VK (there is a way)

      You cannot get email from Twitter.

  • MS

    Michael St. James

    almost 5 years ago #

    Social logins ARE worth it.
    1. Ease of use for the user. It's maddening to have to have 100 different passwords and navigate the disparate username rules.
    2. Data, data, data - Facebook and Google provide back emails,
    3. If you have a user community (such as GH!) - pulling in photos (which are then perfectly sized and displayed) equals one less step for your user and less CMS space. Take a look here on GH at all of the users and their photos, this would not be the same community without that simple thing.
    4. If you want the chance to be shared socially (and you probably should in most cases), this addresses that friction.

    Lastly, there should always be an option to simply signup with email for those who do not want to tie accounts.
    We always explain it like this. Your brick and mortal should be able to take cash (regular ol' sign up) and credit (different social networks).

  • JG

    Jim Gray

    almost 5 years ago #

    It's definitely something you should consider testing. The rule I'd take home is, "gratuitous complexity tends to be detrimental to UX."

    If it's just random extra login options, there are good odds that the added complexity isn't helping. If you provide a service which strictly acts to clean up DM spam on Twitter, odds are good that "Sign in with Twitter" login is a solid idea.

    But yeah, you can A/B this stuff.

    And don't just look at logs of whether it's used, sometimes it's the case that less-used options increase total conversion by increasing use of the primary option (e.g. showing PayPal as an option may increase credit card transactions, even if there are few PayPal transactions).

  • MB

    Morgan Brown

    almost 5 years ago #

    As always, it depends. I think particularly with a mobile focused use case, the benefits of single-click sign-on, particularly when tied to the stored Twitter/FB credentials of the user's phone (e.g. not the web login for the service) is overwhelmingly positive and eliminates a ton of friction, especially for apps w/intermittent use which might require subsequent logins on each open.

    • JM

      Jack Meredith

      almost 5 years ago #

      Agreed. Another case I'd make is if there's value to your business in leveraging the data you can pull from a social login.

  • DL

    Dave Llorens

    almost 5 years ago #

    Posts about website conversion are so often boring. This one wasn't. It was fascinating, actually. Grand.

    Often these are always like "AB test your stuff... Use colors that inspire certain emotions.. blah blah blah." This post, though, was a heartfelt, personal story about some amazing data and is a very good example of how often we misinterpret our "results" from testing things.

  • JG

    Josh Grossman

    almost 5 years ago #

    A couple other reasons to encourage Facebook login. Users' actions in your service can be put into Facebook open graph which can be powerful for spreading awareness. Second, signing up with Facebook generally requires less thought than "do I want to give this service my email address?" (Although echoing some concerns about giving up "control" of the user to Facebook, at SavingStar we then import the email address using Facebook's API...and as a benefit it is likely to be an email address that someone actually uses rather than their junk email address).

  • IS

    Igor Shoifot

    almost 5 years ago #

    There was lots of research showing that different people prefer different networks (for example, I love FB and often use Linkedin and AngelList (because I hunt startups to invest in), but hate G+, Twitter, VK, etc. because they create too much noize) - I also have VERY little time for typing my email, password, etc. - so, if I come to a site that offers Linkedin or FB login - I'm in, and if not - I'm out...

  • LS

    Lee Strayer

    almost 5 years ago #

    I like the method of using the social information as a site signup account stub. This gives me the ease of transferring some information from my social account to get started, but as a site admin I don't lose that information if I lose the connection to the social login later. Who can depend on what social networks will continue to make available through these social login buttons?

  • BD

    Brad Dubs

    almost 5 years ago #

    It most definitely depends on your use case. For Mailchimp, the social login buttons don't provide a benefit to the user outside of a convenient way to log in. Also, a lot of Mailchimp users are business owners and bloggers and would probably want their account info to be consistent with the login info they use for their other business apps (at least the email address) and separate from their personal accounts (speculating).

    At Causes, we relied heavily on Facebook login because it gave us access to the user's friend list, which we used to populate a friend inviter after someone signed a petition, made a donation, or took a pledge. Users who logged in by creating an account via email just weren't nearly as valuable as the connected Facebook accounts.

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