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Social Login: Privacy & Personalization in Focus

Posted on 10.19.2016

Consumers are concerned (and rightfully so) about how brands are using - and in some cases sharing - their online activity.

Customer identify and access management (CIAM) provider Janrain published the results of its new "Consumer Identify Trends" survey and found that while social login is growing in popularity, 93 percent reported being concerned about how their account data and activity are being used. A number that privacy advocates can only shake their heads at.

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Social logins, however, which allow Web users to quickly sign up or log on to sites using the credentials from another site, are becoming increasingly common along registration paths and have become the preferred authentication method.

Facebook continues to dominate in social login rankings with 63 percent of all social logins using its platform. That's up from 45 percent in the first quarter of this year. Google comes in second with 36 percent (up from 25 percent in Q1), Yahoo at 10 percent (up from 7.5 percent) and Twitter with 9 percent (up from 6.5 percent). From Q1 to Q2, these four social platform sites all gained momentum from the rest of social platforms. Facebook increased the most between the two quarters, gaining 18 percent.

One of the reasons for the growth of course is because consumers see the benefits of personalization. In fact, the majority of Web users (58 percent) say they accept the value and convenience of using social logins while another 58 percent say they often refuse to sign up to a new site without one.

The problem, however, is how that information is ultimately used. Janrain's survey shows 47 percent are willing to share their account data and activity as long as it's used only by the company, while 45 percent want the company to be very clear in how their info will be used.

However, for many (38 percent), it depends on the amount and type of data. Of all those surveyed, 39 percent are comfortable with sharing movies, books or sports teams they've Liked on Facebook, for instance. This presents brands with a growing opportunity to connect to the interests and hobbies of consumers for much deeper relationships. Few, on the other hand, are automatically willing to share such personal info as political views (13 percent), religion (12 percent), relationship status (10 percent), friends (8 percent) and photos (7 percent), while less than a quarter will share info simply to get something in return, such as a product offer or exclusive content.

"Social logins are table stakes for online businesses since most web users will no longer sign up to a new site without them," said Janrain VP of Product Jamie Beckland. "But privacy concerns are understandably high given some recent high-profile data breaches. Businesses need to do a better job in the way they use account data to market to users, as well as make sure they're clearly explaining how the account info they access is used and shared."

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