We recently analyzed data from the second half of 2009 and identified several consistent trends within the social media space. The data reveals differences in user behavior regarding their preferred identity providers for signing in to websites that accept login with third party accounts, in this case through an implementation of JanRain’s RPX solution.
We also analyzed data on sign in preferences for a sampling of major US media companies. It’s important to note that not all media companies sampled chose to enable each identity provider. Thus, the following is a snapshot of the popularity of each provider only when that particular provider is enabled as a sign in choice.
What accounts for the preference of users to sign in to media websites with Facebook or Yahoo! identities? Many web users visit news and media websites with the intention of sharing content with their friends. If one reads an interesting article or watches a video on a media site, they may be compelled to share that content with their friends, family or colleagues. Since both Facebook and Yahoo! allow users to publish content or activity from a website back to their friends and contacts on each network, it is not surprising that these providers are more popular on media websites.
Our analysis also includes an examination of technology platforms (comprising customer feedback/support tools as well as white-label social network/community platforms) to see which identity providers are most popular. While Facebook is the most popular choice (at 41%), Google is a strong second, and not surprisingly, Twitter proves that it is a more prevalent sign in option on technology websites. Again, this data provides a snapshot of user preferences only when a particular provider has been enabled by the website as a sign in choice:
It’s also important to note that user preferences vary by geography, demographics and over time as certain identity providers gain popularity and add features and capabilities. For example, six months ago, Twitter hardly registered but now accounts for up to 25% of sign ins on some websites. For some websites in east Asia, greater than 60% of logins are via Yahoo!.
At JanRain, we strongly believe that organizations derive the most benefit by providing their users with choice, and this data reinforces the point that organizations can better engage with users by supporting a range of identity providers for authentication.