In January and April of this year, we shared data on which social network or email identities people use to sign-in to websites and their preferred social networks for sharing their online activities. Today, Mashable published an update of our data.
Publications such as Mashable, TechCrunch or ReadWriteWeb frequently report on new services and features launched by major social networks and web portals like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Yahoo!. In an increasingly competitive landscape, these providers of online identity are furiously working to differentiate their offerings to reach a larger audience and build sustained loyalty among existing users. For marketers, digital strategists and developers managing websites for their online businesses, this has two major implications:
- It has become critical to understand the tools offered by these networks and how they can be leveraged to benefit your website and improve your online ROI. Implementing these tools on your corporate website can give your organization a huge competitive advantage.
- Because the networks are differentiating their features (and the plumbing and APIs for these features) so rapidly, it has become increasingly challenging to incorporate these tools into your website on your own. Hosted solutions that aggregate features from each network in a write to one, add support for many model can connect your site to the social networks quickly, saving you time and money while freeing you from ongoing maintenance and optimization.
What follows here is an updated look at the most popular networks for sign-in and sharing based on the more than 250,000 websites worldwide using Janrain Engage. This report also looks at vertical markets such as News Media, Magazine Publishers, and Music Sites, as well as geographic preferences in Europe.
Overall relative popularity of each network has held steady during the past quarter. Google remains the most preferred network with nearly 40% share. Facebook continues to be a popular option, and Yahoo!’s share has grown slightly since April, with 14% preferring a Yahoo! account to sign-in. While Twitter’s popularity in the social web ecosystem continues to rise, it still remains the 4th most popular network for sign-in across our customers’ websites.
The story is different with media companies. On news media sites, Yahoo! is the leading choice for sign-in with 34% share. As a content-focused network, Yahoo! users proactively seek out news and timely content across the web, making it no surprise that the network performs well in this industry segment. Facebook and Google also maintain strong presences on news media sites.
For magazine publishers, Facebook comprises 57% share of all logins. Many magazine publishers focus on lifestyle and interests, a natural pairing with Facebook users who like to share their interests with friends.
On music sites (including the official communities of leading artists), Facebook and Twitter lead the pack by a considerable margin. Given that people tend to interact with these types of sites to learn about and share events, concert dates, new albums and other, it is no surprise that Facebook and Twitter have a strong lead over other networks in this vertical.
On retail websites, Facebook is again the leading choice for sign-in and has grown in popularity with a 5% increase from last quarter. A sizable percentage (44% combined) also prefer to login via Yahoo! and Google.
A look across Europe shows that Facebook is the most popular network for sign-in, followed by Google and Twitter. Windows Live is nearly twice as popular as a sign-in provider in Europe than in the U.S. It is important to note that regional social networks like Hyves perform very well in parts of Europe, particularly in the Netherlands. On certain Dutch websites, for example, Hyves is the chosen social network for sign-in by as many as 60% of web users. This sample includes media, music entertainment, online guides, social communities and technology sites in ten countries across Europe.
The networks people prefer to sign-in to a website is only part of the equation. With the advent of social networks as a hub for content and activity sharing, companies are leveraging the sharing tools of Janrain Engage to enable their users to publish site activities (such as comments, purchases and reviews) to their friends on multiple social networks. On average, Janrain customers are realizing 9 qualified new visitors to their site from each post or social activity from a user on that site. This is word-of-mouth marketing in action, and results in a larger audience, increased page views, increased time on site and deeper engagement with your users.
The breakdown of how consumers share their online activities through Janrain Engage social publishing:
While Facebook is the most popular network for social sharing (53%), Twitter, Yahoo! and MySpace on aggregate are valued as highly (52%) by people for online activity syndication. It is important to note that Janrain Engage supports publishing of user activities to multiple social networks simultaneously. As an example, certain users may choose to share a purchase, article comment or product review with friends across four social networks at once.
The landscape of the social web is competitive, and social networks and web portals are aggressively competing to be the trusted hub for a consumer’s online identity. Because of this, uniform preference among web users is hard to find. In our conversations with organizations using Janrain Engage, we’ve found that they reach more customers and generate more revenue from their online efforts by casting a wide net across the social networks and identity providers.
We will continue to publish data on social media platform preferences on a quarterly basis, and spotlight key new verticals.