Marketing brief five best practices in online user registration


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Marketing brief five best practices in online user registration

  1. 1. user management platform for the social web MARKETING BRIEF Five Best Practices in Online User Registration A common objective for a website is to convert an anonymous visitor to an engaged and KEY TAKEAWAYS active registered user. The challenge is to make this process easy for the visitor while still Keep it simple, don’t obtaining valuable demographic information that the site can then leverage to personalize the hide it user experience. The good news is there are established best practices in implementing user Provide a choice in how a registration, and it is possible to easily collect user data without sacrificing conversion rates. user registers This marketing brief examines real world examples of how leading websites from the LA Times to LadyGaga have optimized online user registration processes. User interface counts Watch, learn, and adjust KEEP IT SIMPLE, DON’T HIDE IT Garbage in, garbage out It may sound obvious, but the first step to improving registration rates is to make it obvious that the site wants visitors to register. Instead of concealing the registration and login option within a homepage, make it clear to visitors. Habbo, a virtual world and global online community, funnels visitors toward registration immediately by placing the registration form in a central part of the home page and showcasing the option to easily sign in or register with an existing Figure 1: Example of an obvious registration box on Habbo’s website. identity at a social network. Simplifying the login and registration flows and avoiding lengthy registration forms, increases the chance of a completed process. With the goal of engaging the user quickly, only ask for data as needed. A great way to accomplish this is by letting users leverage an existing online identity. The Los Angeles Times is an excellent example of a site that make it obvious to readers that they can easily register on the site using an existing identity from Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo!, AOL or MySpace. The LA Times actually only Figure 2: The LA Times requires readers to sign in with an existing identity.Copyright © 2010 Janrain Inc. All rights reserved. JANRAIN MARKETING BRIEF | | 888.563.3082 PG1
  2. 2. user management platform for the social web MARKETING BRIEF offers login through an existing identity, going so far as to run a promotion to encourage users to KEY TAKEAWAYS register with an account on a social network or from an identity provider. Keep it simple, don’t hide it Taking It Global, the largest online community of youth interested in global issues and creating positive change, lets its visitors register and sign in via an existing social networking account, but Provide a choice in how a user registers used to hide the option to do so “beneath the fold” on its login page. User interface counts After realizing that most visitors to the site were not scrolling down far Watch, learn, and adjust enough to locate the option to sign Garbage in, garbage out in with an existing identity, Taking It Global redesigned its home page to make the option to join the community much more prominent. Figure 3: Taking It Global’s before and after login screens. Now, clicking the Favicons (small icons) for any of the social networks on the home page triggers a lightbox window that invites the visitor to sign-in with an existing account. The change resulted in an increase of existing users signing-in eight times more often than previously, and a five-fold growth in user registrations from new visitors to the site. Combining the login and register fields into one interface for a single entry point into the system, Figure 4: UserVoice’s login screen is an ideal example of creates a simpler experience for the user. how to present a clear and simple registration process.PROVIDE A CHOICE The growth in social networks and third party identity providers such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Twitter means that a large majority of visitors to a website already have an established social networking or email account that they regularly use. Websites can increase registration rates and improve ROI by leveraging the existing accounts of their site visitors. It is important to keep in mind that it may be difficult to predict user login preferences, and therefore breadth of choice is equally important. Websites can capture the widest audience and boost conversion rates by supporting multiple identity providers. The following pie chart depicts which identity providers and social networks are most preferred by users for signing-in to websites across a sample of 170,0001 websites worldwide and across 1. Websites using Janrain Engage for registration and login. JANRAIN MARKETING BRIEF | Copyright © 2010 Janrain Inc. All rights reserved. PG2
  3. 3. user management platform for the social web MARKETING BRIEF industries. The data in Figure 5 clearly demonstrates a lack of consensus in user preference. KEY TAKEAWAYS Furthermore, user preferences vary significantly across vertical markets as shown by the sampling Keep it simple, don’t of media companies2 in Figure 6. hide it Provide a choice in how a user registers User interface counts Watch, learn, and adjust Garbage in, garbage out Figure 5: Sign in preference across all Janrain Engage Figure 6: Sign in preference for sampling of customer websites. media companies2.User Interface Counts How the registration screen is presented to the site visitor can impact willingness to fill it out and complete the process. Marketers look to the conversion rate from site visitor to registered user as a key metric, and how the user interface for registration is presented can make the difference between a bounce and a conversion. The website offers a traditional username and password option, but showcases the option to sign in via an existing account from Figure 7:’s slimmed down version of the login setup. Facebook, Twitter or MySpace. This interface has resulted in 89% of all new user registrations occurring via a social networking identity and an overall conversion rate that is double the rate of sign ins via the traditional username and password process. Get Satisfaction, a community- powered online support platform chosen by 25,000 brands, uses an intuitive tab-style interface to allow users to select between Facebook, 1. Sample set of media com- panies and technology plat- Google, Twitter, Windows Live, OpenID forms used Janrain Engage for or a Get Satisfaction account for sign login and registration. in. The login user interface appears in 2. Sample set of media com- Figure 8: GetSatisfaction uses a tabbed login approach to get users to sign in panies using Janrain Engage a sleek modal overlay window that via their preferred social network. for registration and login. JANRAIN MARKETING BRIEF | Copyright © 2010 Janrain Inc. All rights reserved. PG3
  4. 4. user management platform for the social web MARKETING BRIEFmakes it apparent to users that they can easily login, all while preserving valuable homepage real KEY TAKEAWAYSestate and avoiding a full browser redirect. Keep it simple, don’t hide itJust as critical as the first time registration is ensuring a positive return login experience. Onceyou have a registered user, the goal is to Provide a choice in how a user registersencourage them to always login whenthey come back to the site. The best way User interface countsto do this is to provide a one click login Watch, learn, and adjustexperience through an authenticationsolution that remembers the user’s Garbage in, garbage outpreferred login provider and immediately Figure 9: An Example from showing a repeat visit response that remembers the user’s login information.prompts the user to login.Watch, Learn, Adjust – the Power of AnalyticsOn a macro level, tracking daily site traffic and registrations have become de facto metrics. Bytracking conversion and drop off rates, as well as user preferences among identity providers,websites can make adjustments to how the registration page is presented. For example, if overtime, a significant percentage of site visitors register with a few specific providers, highlight thoseon the homepage. Divine Caroline,a media site for women, calls outlogin through Facebook, Twitter andYahoo! on the homepage, and then Figure 10: Divine Caroline showcases the top three social network providers that the majority of their users tend to login with.offers additional choices through alogin pop-up.WetPaint, a popular platform for building community sites and wikis, chose to make Windows Livethe most prominent option for users.There is additional opportunity to drill furtherdown into analytics to learn more about a site’saudience and influence decisions. Websitesthat accept social identities for login can trackwhich identity providers are most popular forlogin, and through a scoring system (based onnumber of comments left, number of purchasesmade, number of friends invited, or other Figure 11: An Example of making MSN the prominent login choice.metrics), determine the percentage of users JANRAIN MARKETING BRIEF | Copyright © 2010 Janrain Inc. All rights reserved. PG4
  5. 5. user management platform for the social web MARKETING BRIEFfrom each service that become active users on the site. This can help a website further refine its KEY TAKEAWAYSofferings to a specific audience, adjust its registration user interface, or create an outreach strategy Keep it simple, don’tto reach even more prospective users at a particular social network. hide itMake the Most of User Profile Data Provide a choice in how a user registersThe primary objective of collecting registration data is for marketers to better understand their User interface countsaudience and customize their content and/or offerings to their users, ultimately improving ROI. A Watch, learn, and adjustcommerce site, for example, might recommend products to its users based on past purchasingbehavior, gender, age or interests. A content site might serve targeted advertisements to users Garbage in, garbage outbased on demographics. A community site would want to recommend friends to users based ontheir existing social graph or their geography and stream the activities of a user’s friends on the site.These are all engagement metrics, and while theydiffer by site type, all require prior knowledgeabout the user in order to better personalize theexperience. As mentioned earlier, one challengeis getting user data without sacrificing conversionrates by requiring completion of a lengthyregistration form. A second challenge is collectingaccurate data. Consumers today are increasinglyimpatient and uninterested in repeatedly entering Figure 12: An example of an up-to-date rich dataset of valuable information about a user that is hosted on popularpersonal information. As a result, user databases social networks.are often full of outdated information or spam.The good news is that internet users tend to maintain an accurate and updated profile on theirpreferred social networks or web mail accounts. By leveraging these accounts for authentication, asite can instantly gather rich profile data. And, in most cases, the data is more accurate than if thewebsite collected the information through a registration form.Leading record label Interscope Geffen A&M, for example, presents users with a pre-populatedregistration form after they sign in with an identity from Google, Yahoo!, Twitter, MySpace or othernetworks.Because the user has agreed to share his or her profile information with Interscope Geffen A&M,the site can pull the profile data from the existing social network account and pre-populate theregistration form. This expedites the signup process and helps ensure that the website will gain themost accurate and updated set of information on users when they register. JANRAIN MARKETING BRIEF | Copyright © 2010 Janrain Inc. All rights reserved. PG5
  6. 6. user management platform for the social web MARKETING BRIEF Since users are more diligent about maintaining KEY TAKEAWAYS their profiles on Facebook, Google, Yahoo! and Keep it simple, don’t other networks, websites can help keep their hide it user database current by collecting an updated Provide a choice in how a set of data each time the user authenticates. If a user registers Google user changes his or her email address or User interface counts location, the website can acknowledge that change without being dependent on the user to update the Watch, learn, and adjust Figure 13: Profile data that has been pulled into the information on the site. IGA registration process from an existing social network account. Garbage in, garbage out Google user changes his or her email address orlocation, the website can acknowledge that change without being dependent on the user to updatethe information on the site.ConclusionThe process to get users through the front door of a website and engaging with content needs tobe as simple and seamless as possible if an organization wants to win and keep mindshare. Thegrowing popularity of social networks gives marketers an opportunity to leverage a user’s existingprofile for better customer insight, to inform decisions, increase registration rates and engagement,and ultimately yield a more positive return on investment from online activities.About JanrainJanrain helps organizations succeed on the social web with its user management platform. A keycomponent of the platform is Janrain Engage, an enterprise-class, software as a service (SaaS)solution to enable a website to expedite the registration and login processes with a user’s thirdparty account, import user profile information and address books, and make it easy for a user topublish website activity back to multiple social networks. Companies enjoy higher registrationrates, increased brand awareness and qualified referral traffic. The end-user benefits from a fasterlogin and a more customized online experience. Janrain Engage is the only solution to support16 identity providers and social networks including, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Yahoo! Janraincustomers include industry leaders such as Universal Music Group, Kodak, Fox News, NationalGeographic Channel, and PayPal. Founded in 2005, Janrain is based in Portland, Oregon. For moreinformation, please call 1-888-563-3082, or visit JANRAIN MARKETING BRIEF | Copyright © 2010 Janrain Inc. All rights reserved. PG6