Social logins have become an integral part of online life. The ability to log in to websites and applications via social networks simplifies e-commerce and subscriptions. This blog post takes a closer look at social logins, examines their benefits and risks, and helps you make informed decisions about their use (including as a marketer).
What are social logins?
Social logins (also known as social sign in, social media logins or single sign on, or SSO for short) allow users to log in to various online services using their social media accounts. Instead of creating a new account with a username and password, users can simply authenticate themselves on platforms such as Facebook, Google or Twitter (X). The technical standards for exchanging social logins are OpenID Connect and OAuth.
Advantages of social logins:
There are a number of benefits:
- Convenience: Using social logins saves time and effort in creating and managing user accounts for different services. One click on the "Sign in with Facebook" button is enough to gain access to the website or application. 86 percent of users say they are annoyed by having to create new accounts on websites. Convenience is therefore the most important reason for use.
- Password management: Because you log in from your social media account, you have fewer passwords overall and fewer passwords to remember.
- Personalisation: Websites can use information from your social media profile to better understand your preferences and interests, and show you personalised content. This includes information such as name, email, hometown, interests, activities and friends; the privacy issues involved are discussed below.
The risks of social logins:
Despite the obvious benefits, social logins are not without risk. Here are some of the main concerns:
- Privacy: When you sign in to your social media account, you may be sharing more information than you want. Some sites and applications require access to your entire social media profile, including your friends list and email address. Make sure you read the small print when using social logins to understand what the service can access if you agree to it.
- Security risks: If your social media account is compromised, it may also allow access to other services you use through social logins. This underlines the need to protect your social media accounts well. Strong and, above all, unique passwords are a must.
- Dependence on third parties: Using social logins means that you are dependent on third parties. If one of the platforms you use to log in goes down or stops providing service, this can affect your access to other services.
Social media platforms and 3rd party websites, including tools such as Facelift and quintly, use APIs to transfer information between platforms. Read our article about APIs to get a better understanding of what they are, how they work, and why they're important for data security.
Tips for safe social logins:
If you choose to use social logins, follow these best practices to protect your security and privacy:
- Check your permissions: Make sure you know what information you're sharing and what permissions you're granting when you sign in using social logins. Read the small print when using social SSO. Only share the information you want to share.
- Use strong passwords: Even if you use fewer passwords, make sure your social media account is protected by a strong password that can't be guessed. Our privacy officer's favourite tip is to name your password after your favourite song. Use the first letters of the refrain.
For example: Oops, I did it again by Britney Spears becomes Oidia. You can use numbers and special letters before, after or in the middle. Unlike your fiancée's or your cat's name, nobody will guess Oidia or your favourite song.
- Check app permissions: regularly check the list of apps and websites that have access to your social media account and remove unused or suspicious apps.
You can read all about staying safe on social media, and discover the steps that Facelift takes to ensure that your data is safe and sound.
How does social login work?
Social Login allows users to log in to websites and applications using existing social media accounts. This is done in three steps:
- Users select the "Sign in with [social network name]" option.
- The website sends a login request to the selected network. The user then authenticates through the network.
- The website gains access to the user's information and, in return, grants the user access to the desired services.
Bonus benefits for advertisers:
Social logins offer advertisers a number of benefits that allow them to implement more targeted and effective marketing strategies:
- Access to user data: When users log in to websites or applications using social logins, they typically provide a great deal of information. While a traditional login may provide at most your name, email address, gender or date of birth, a social login gives you access to a wide range of data - including product preferences, friend lists, where you live, movies you've seen, books you've read, and more. The exact amount of data is determined by the information a social network has about a user - this data is usually much more extensive than the data provided by Social Login. This data is extremely valuable to advertisers as it allows for better audience analysis and targeting.
- Advertising personalisation: With the data available through social logins, advertisers can create personalised advertising messages. This means they can target ads to specific users based on their interests and behaviours, increasing the likelihood that users will respond to the ads. Ultimately, this personalisation leads to higher conversion rates.
- Reduce fake accounts: As users authenticate themselves through their social media accounts, the likelihood of fake or spam accounts being created is reduced. This helps to improve the quality of data used by advertisers.
Social logins are undoubtedly a convenient way to log in to online services. However, you should be aware that there are risks associated with using social logins. However, if you protect your privacy, use strong passwords and monitor your accounts carefully, you can reap the benefits of social logins without compromising your security. It's up to each of us to find the right balance between convenience and privacy.
Social users also drive better conversions for advertisers. So if you're a marketer with a budget and you're running ads to drive people to your website or online store, consider offering social logins to increase your conversion rates.
Last but not least, a note on our own behalf.
Facelift is the market-leading social media management tool for businesses with multiple social media accounts who want to save time and money. Curious? Then sign up for a free, no-obligation demo.