Following a disappointing IPO, Facebook is aiming to redefine itself. There has been a lot of discussion around its core value, registration numbers, the value (or lack thereof) of advertising on Facebook and a company’s ability to use Facebook for registration and a customized experience.
Since 2007, Facebook has spent an incredible amount of time and energy perfecting the registration and login process — and the security around that process. For companies that offload registration to Facebook, they not only gain security, but they may also be removing potential barriers to registration. So how does Facebook registration work? What can you do with the information, and will social features lead to a more customized user experience?
First, let’s digress and focus on the importance of security before we get into the value of Facebook registration and social integration. Due to improper coding practices, there have been numerous security breaches by hackers who pilfer login credentials stored in plain text. Recently, big companies like Yahoo, Gawker, Sony, Linkedin and Dropbox have reported stolen login names and passwords. Hackers use common tools such as SQL injection and network sniffing to find holes in code. Once discovered, access to information is elementary and costly for companies that need crisis management.
Today, Facebook provides several tools that allow users to manage their privacy. There are also tools available that allow companies to request users’ registration information to enhance its own websites. Offloading site registration to Facebook can provide two main benefits to marketers beyond security: actionable information and the ability to create a customized, social experience for users.
What is Facebook registration?
- A site uses only Facebook for registration
- A site uses Facebook registration and its own/local registration
The latter option is more complex, as data needs to be merged. Facebook-only registration, on the other hand, can greatly simplify the registration process. If the user is already logged into Facebook, the registration form is automatically populated with that user’s basic information.
Marketers should take note of the ability to add custom fields to the registration form, such as date, password, select boxes, checkboxes, typeahead (auto-populates the field as the user types), hidden fields (used to set certain application-related variables) and Captcha function. Additionally, the additional fields of this registration information can be stored locally or, if stored in Facebook, can be requested by the company for their own marketing use.
What can a company do with the information collected?
Here are four simple tips to follow when collecting information:
- Cache information on the site to improve user experience.
- Do not sell or transfer user information, even if a user consents.
- Keep all Facebook ID’s confidential.
- If you remove Facebook connect, or if a user requests to be removed, delete all data.
For marketers, the ability to leverage Facebook registration information can allow for the creation of compelling, personalized experiences that will resonate with users and drive conversion. For example, the information collected can be used to provide users with personalized offers and emails, as well as targeted online ads. Thanks to the fact that Facebook is used by 900 million people, companies who adopt Facebook registration can double the number of their registered user accounts.
Will social features provide an even more customized experience?
The Facebook social features that can be integrated with your website can lead to an even more customized user experience. Users can have a highly personal, engaging experience with social integration on your site. They can see what their friends are reading or doing on the site and which friends “like” that site (via face piles). Content can also be personalized for users based on their friends’ activities.
With all of these useful features for marketers, there is a much more compelling argument to use Facebook-only registration over local registration. Instead of just capturing data, you have the ability to unleash its full, social power.