Facebook Q4 social logins: up in retail, down in music


Competition — namely Google+ — is growing in the social login space, but Facebook is still the social login leader in Q4, according to a study released recently by Janrain. While Facebook is still the  No. 1 choice for users connecting with sites overall, the social network is downwardly trending with music apps and B2B sites.

However, Facebook is seeing increasing social logins through retail sites and media sites. Overall, 45 percent of social logins throughout the Web in Q4 happened via Facebook, but Google+ isn’t far behind at 35 percent.


Facebook slowly losing dominance in social logins


The dominant mechanism for social logins into a mobile app is still Facebook, but research from Gigya — a social connection firm — shows that Google+ is gaining ground.

Now, less than half of social logins in North America happen via Facebook, with Google+ and Yahoo emerging as options. Though Facebook has a prominent foothold worldwide, Gigya told Inside Facebook that other continents will likely follow suit.


Facebook tests new look for mobile permissions process

mobile devFacebook is testing different designs for the mobile login process for third-party apps and sites that connect with the social platform.

In December 2012, Facebook announced changes to the apps permissions process, which separates read and write permissions into different dialogs. This means users have the option to log into an application and receive a personalized experience using their name, friend list and other aspects of their profile, but they can reject the app’s request to publish activity on their behalf.

As that rolls out across desktop and mobile, the company has been testing different versions of the permissions dialog to improve the design and performance. The following is what users will see on an iOS device when logging into a site that uses Facebook Login. After users accept the first “read” permissions request, they can accept or skip the “write” request. They can also change their default privacy setting for the app. If an app wants to manage a user’s ads, events, notifications or other products, it will have to request this in a third dialog.


Study: percent of consumers logging into sites with Facebook dips as Google gains

SocialLoginFacebook’s hold on the social login market could be decreasing as more consumers sign into third-party sites with Google, Twitter and other accounts, according to a study by Janrain.

Janrain offers a social login widget that websites can use to give users options for signing in with Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo or more than two dozen other services. Each quarter, the company looks at what consumers are choosing to use on the sites that use its social login product. For the second quarter in a row, Facebook’s lead decreased and Google gained. This does not necessarily mean that fewer users are logging into sites with Facebook, but the overall percentage of users doing so has declined.


Facebook claims a 46 percent share of overall logins through Janrain, and Google has 34 percent. Among the gaming and retail verticals, however, Facebook’s share is higher — close to 60 percent — and has even increased over the last quarter. For media and music sites, Facebook claims around 50 percent of logins, but Twitter and Google are becoming more popular.

Internet retailers miss opportunities by not using Facebook login, Sociable Labs says

Only 30 of the top 500 Internet retailers offer Facebook login as a registration option for their sites, according to research by social commerce software company Sociable Labs.

That’s only 6 percent of the top online retailers making use of a feature the social network launched in 2008. Sociable Labs says it’s not because Facebook login isn’t useful. The option simplifies account creation, eliminates the need for another password, allows companies to better personalize their sites and collect richer CRM data, in addition to increasing referral traffic from the social network. Sociable Labs says the problem comes down to technical barriers, perceived security concerns and, in general, lack of priority among online retailers that have another registration system in place.

In fact, newer companies on the IR 500 list like Modcloth, ideeli, Fab.com, One Kings Lane and Beyond the Rack, tend to use Facebook login. Without legacy systems as a barrier, these retailers are able to implement Facebook login from the beginning.

Some other companies that use Facebook login do so by using a third-party software vendor such as Gigya or Janrain, which often give users a choice between logging in with Facebook or other platforms like Twitter, Google or Yahoo. Sociable Labs points out that, compared to other networks, Facebook has richer user profile data and more robust options for sharing content back to Facebook, such as through Open Graph actions.

However, even among the companies that have integrated Facebook login, few are taking advantage of all the benefits it offers. Sociable Labs found that 30 percent of companies that implemented the feature did so incorrectly by requiring a user to create a separate site password. The point of the Facebook login button is to reduce friction in the sign-up and login process. Including a second password is perhaps meant as a security measure, but it mostly defeats the purpose of using Facebook login to streamline registration.

Sociable Labs also found that half of retailers that use Facebook login do not offer the option during the checkout process, which is often the point at which many consumers create accounts. And none of the top e-commerce sites with the login button use “persistent login” to automatically log in users when they revisit the site. An earlier Sociable Labs study found that 50 percent of users browsing e-commerce sites were logged in to Facebook, so retailers are missing a large opportunity by not enabling persistent login. Living Social, though not among the IR 500, is an example of a company that uses persistent login to instantly personalize the experience for return visitors.

Fab.com, which is in the IR 500, uses Facebook login correctly in that it doesn’t require users to create an additional password. The site also integrated Open Graph in January to allow users to share what they buy and “fave” on the site. Within four months, the company doubled its referral traffic from Facebook and increased membership from 1.8 million to 3.2 million users.

When Facebook introduced Connect for websites in 2008, we suggested it could help developers improve the registration process and increase traffic for their sites. Thousands of websites integrated Connect within the first year, and Facebook reported that those that implemented single sign-on saw 15 percent increase in site registrations. However, developing this capability could take up to six weeks for some sites, so many either didn’t see the value or couldn’t put the resources toward it. In 2010, Facebook retired the Connect brand and released the Facebook login social plugin, which worked basically the same way as Connect but began to show users photos of their friends who have already joined a site. The company also offers a registration plugin that pre-fills sign-up forms with a user’s Facebook information.

Sociable Labs is a social commerce app provider with products to help online retailers integrate custom social plugins and Open Graph publishing on their sites. For this research, the company looked only at use of Facebook login and did not count sites that use Facebook APIs for purposes other than registration.

Here is the list of retailers in the IR 500 that have implemented Facebook login, organized by whether they ask users to create an additional password when they register.

Image credit: Sociable Labs

Facebook bug temporarily brings down apps, social features on third-party sites

Thousands of Facebook applications and third-party sites that utilize the social network’s login capabilities experienced a two-hour outage last night.

An issue with Facebook’s central JavaScript files prevented apps and some aspects of Facebook-connected sites from loading. Although the bug was reported and resolved within two hours, developers might notice a temporary dip in their apps’ usage for Thursday.

A user filed a bug report about the JavaScript issue, noting that all Zynga games were down, at 7:41 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Facebook acknowledged the service disruption at 8:30 p.m. on its platform status page, and declared the issue resolved at 9:55 p.m.

The incident is a reminder for the many developers that depend on Facebook for login and other features how their businesses can be affected when the platform experiences outages. The social network’s vision is to have all websites and applications integrate its Open Graph, but the more companies do so, the more critical it becomes to keep the platform stable and prevent issues from affecting users and developers globally. These types of disruptions will come under additional scrutiny after Facebook becomes a publicly traded company, as it is expected to this summer.

Thanks to Louis Goddard for the tip.

TripAdvisor adds personalization based on friends of Facebook friends

TripAdvisor today expanded the personalization of its travel site to highlight reviews from friends of users’ Facebook friends.

When people research hotels, attractions or other vacation information on the site, they will see reviews first from their friends, followed by reviews from friends of friends. Visitors have the option to send the the reviewer a private message with further travel questions. TripAdvisor says this friends of friends feature means visitors are now 10 times more likely to see social context when they use the travel site.

For example, a user might not have any friends who have rated hotels in Istanbul, but there is much higher probability that one of the hundreds of thousands of the user’s friends of friends has. You can try it for yourself here. Make sure you’re logged into Facebook, then scroll down and look for a notification like the one seen right.

TripAdvisor VP of Global Product, Adam Medros tells us one out of four new reviews on the site is created by users who have logged in with Facebook. He says the site also only shows friends of friends’ data for “opinionated content” — ratings and reviews — not in other features like lists of friends who have visited or lived in a place, where it might not be as relevant. TripAdvisor also includes friends’ names and profile photos, but doesn’t provide full names or photos of friends of friends, which are not likely to have the same meaning to users.

TripAdvisor has a long history developing travel-related apps on the Facebook platform. The travel site created Cities I’ve Visited in 2007. The app, which let users add pins on a map to the places they’ve been, quickly surpassed competitors and still has 3.4 million monthly active users today, according to AppData. TripAdvisor became an “Instant Personalization” partner in 2010, and remains one of only eight sites that can access basic Facebook user data without requiring users to authorize an app.

With Instant Personalization, TripAdvisor can show any logged-in Facebook user which of their friends has indicated that they’ve been to a destination or reviewed something on the site. It pulls data from users’ profiles like hometown, current city, check-ins and Likes, as well as data from the Cities I’ve Visited app. The company also launched an Open Graph-enabled version of Cities I’ve Visited this year and is considering ways it might do the same for the main TripAdvisor site.

Other apps like Yelp, and even Facebook itself, would benefit from showing friends of friends’ information similar to how TripAdvisor now does. Facebook seems to use data from friends of friends to influence its internal search rankings and other algorithms, but it doesn’t explain how and where it does so. The most explicit use of friends of friends’ data appears on the social network’s careers page which lists “people you might know who work at Facebook.” Underneath those words are thumbnails and links to Facebook employees with whom users have mutual friends.

We haven’t yet seen Facebook promote social games or personalize pages based on friends of friends activity, but one day it might. For example, if users don’t have any friends who play a particular game, Facebook could display how many friends of friends are active users. Facebook could also prioritize page posts or place recommendations from friends of friends, along with a note about how users are connected to the author.

If Facebook expands its search product, as it is rumored to, we might see the company put more emphasis on friends of friends’ data in order to provide social context in areas that a person’s immediate connections don’t cover. Although, seeing how TripAdvisor has incorporated Facebook suggests the social network might not have to improve its own search. It can let Bing, Yelp, Rotten Tomatoes and others make their search features more personalized by including friends of friends’ recommendations.

Meet Zynga.com, also known as Zynga Direct, Z-Live and Zynga’s declaration of independence

Zynga today reveals its very own social game platform, Zynga.com, which was previously called Z-Live and Zynga Direct. The service launches today with five of Zynga’s best-performing games: CastleVille, CityVille, Words with Friends, Hidden Chronicles and Zynga Poker.

Here’s what Zynga.com is: a platform on which social games can run synchronously and relatively seamlessly between it and Facebook. A CityVille player logging into Zynga.com today will find their city exactly as it appears on the Facebook canvas, with the same amount of virtual goods in their inventory and same amount of virtual currency in their e-wallet. Thanks to a deeper-than-anything-we’ve-seen integration with Facebook Connect, all in-game activity that takes place on one platform happens on the other. That CityVille player can buy a new park decoration on Zynga.com and it will appear in Facebook if they player were to jump back to the social network and play CityVille there. A Facebook player can used Credits to buy 20 Crowns in CastleVille and those 20 Crowns will be in the virtual bank if the player jumps to Zynga.com.

Here’s what Zynga.com is not: an alternative to Facebook. The service is focused on the games experience to the exclusion of almost all other social networking tools. Players can’t post pictures, can’t create events and can only group themselves by Facebook friends and players that play the same games. The only social network features Zynga.com cribbed from Facebook are the chat function, social discovery of new friend connections and a live app ticker for games activity (which is something Facebook recently disabled on canvas apps).

Read the rest on our sister site, Inside Social Games.

Facebook Roundup: Ad Lawsuit, Search, Pages and Christmas

California Facebook Ad Lawsuit Proceeds -  A U.S. District Judge in California has rejected Facebook’s request to dismiss a lawsuit from people claiming the site’s social advertisements count as unauthorized use of their names and likenesses.

Facebook the Top Searched Term in U.S. -  Experian reported this week that Facebook topped its list of the most search terms in the United States for the third year in a row, making up 3.1% of all searches. [Image Via Experian]

Facebook Completes Move to Menlo Park - The company moved the last of 2,000 employees from its Palo Alto office into a ten-building, 1-million square foot campus in Menlo Park on Monday. Facebook hopes to one day accommodate up to 9,400 employees there.

North Social’s Facebook Page Don’ts -  North Social put together a video montage of the worst things brands can do to gain fans on their Facebook pages.

Modea’s Wisdom Tree App, Find Gifts For Friends - An app from digital agency Modea allows users to select a friend, answer a few questions about them, and then suggests the perfect (gag) gift for this friend.

Featured Facebook Campaigns: Ultimat Vodka, Nasty Gals, Toyota Prius, Burger King and Subway

Ultimat Vodka’s Social Life Audit topped our review of Facebook campaigns this week, although Burger King and Subway also had some interesting ways of promoting their products. Nasty Gals saw a particularly successful and simple sweepstakes campaign and Toyota Prius’ charity app was interesting for being so tightly branded.

Below is an excerpt of this week’s full Featured Facebook Campaigns entry in the Facebook Marketing Bible, which also includes detailed breakdowns of over 100 other Facebook marketing campaigns by top-performing brands and other organization on Facebook.

Ultimat Vodka’s Social Life Audit

Goal: Brand Loyalty, Product Purchase, Engagement, Network Exposure

Method: Ultimat Vodka created an app, Social Life Audit, that culls a users’ data and creates a customized social “score” and infographic.

Core Mechanic: We spoke to Paul Aaron with Amalgamated, who worked on the Social Life Audit campaign for Ultimat Vodka and he told us that the app itself was tightly integrated into the company’s brand.

“Our overall goal was to create more widespread buzz and word-of-mouth that got people thinking about Ultimate Vodka,” he told us. “Facebook is where people go to be social and spirit brands are inherently social brands. Social Life Audit was part of a broader campaign targeting overworked, high-end consumers who are craving balance in their lives.”

The vodka product is a mix of wheat, rye and potato vodkas, therein is marketed as being well-balanced. Aaron told us that the broader Ultimat campaign was precise and targeted via print and digital, but that the Facebook app generated the most buzz for the brand. Users not only get their own personalized infographic when using the app (which also generates ticker stories), but they can share this to the stream when they are finished.

It is this part of the app — the sharing — that Aaron said was the most potent of the campaign. “When people use the app and get their score, they are encouraged to post them, which in turn, gets tagged and added to their photo albums. About halfway through making Social Life Audit, we knew we had something special on our hands, but we didn’t know that it would garner as much traffic s it did.”

Overall Aaron told us the app, with impressions on- and off-line, delivered CPM that was a fraction of print or banner ads. This was of particular value, since the brand didn’t have a big advertising budget.

Impact: The Page was created at the end of November and currently stands at 10,100 Likes.

Nasty Gals’ Epic Holiday Giveaway

Goal: Page Growth, Email List, Brand Loyalty, Product Purchase, Network Exposure

Method: Nasty Gal is a clothing company hosting an email entry sweepstakes giving away a gift card every day until Christmas for two weeks.

Core Mechanic: The sweepstakes asks users to enter an email to win one of the gift cards, ranging from $200 to $1,000. The sweepstakes is Like-gated and allows users to share their entry to the stream.

Impact: The sweepstakes is simple and appears to have brought in about 10,000 Likes since it began in early December, according to PageData. The Page currently stands at 146,800 Likes.

Want to learn how top brands are designing their Facebook marketing campaigns? See the Facebook Marketing Bible for detailed breakdowns of hundreds of Featured Campaigns by top-performing brands and businesses on Facebook.

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