Nowadays, people want simplicity and speed when interacting with a web or mobile app. These two features, however, should not come at the expense of data security. This aspect is more important than ever today, when we are constantly connected to the internet and carry our identity and financial data, as well as our personal and business contacts, stored in various smart devices. Whenever they download an app and create a user account, they want to feel secure and that their data is protected.

This introduction is necessary for establishing the parameters for social login: it should be smooth, secure and it should offer users the certainty that they are always in control in terms of how much personal information they share with your app.

Social Login – A Trust Issue

When people log in with their social media accounts, they give your organization access to their private data: biographical information, friends, photos, likes and interests. This kind of trust is not lightly given and you should not treat it as such. People are wary about how much private data they surrender in exchange for access to an app’s benefits and features.

There are many aspects to this kind of trust building: the value and the image your brand has in the user’s eyes, the social and corporate proof they have that your app is secure, the perceived cost/benefit ratio in terms of shared private data versus benefits reaped from the app.

The aspects we will share with you today are of a more practical nature, in terms of best practices for implementing social login in your apps.

1. Choose the Social Media Networks Carefully

Ideally, you should be able to let a user log in with any of the top five popular social media networks. In real life, it is too complicated and impractical, both in terms of data storage and protection, and in terms of designing a login panel which looks ergonomic and user friendly.

In order to choose the right social media platforms, you must know your prospects very well. What social media networks are they using most frequently? How willing are they to share login data with you, especially in case of professional networks such as LinkedIn? Once you have found an answer to this question choose no more than three social login options for your app.

2. Decide How Much Information You Will Require for Login

The best practice in this aspect is very simple and clear: do not be greedy. Require just the basic information for a secure identification of the user: name, password, location. When it comes to access to their friends list, or permission to post on their social media pages, most users are not willing to accept this trade-off for a newly installed app.

You may ask permission later on, as your user starts interacting with your app, to share their activities on the social media. Trust is built over time, it is never implicit and you should not take it for granted.

3. Offer a Peak Preview of the App on the Login Screen

If the first thing people see once they launch your app is a splash login screen, they will certainly wonder if it is worth the trouble. The right way to create the desire to log in is to allow users to have a look at your app, with the login form floating above the main screen.

Once they identify the features and contents of your app, users will be incentivized enough to log in and access the app as a whole. This approach is also recommended for web apps and even for secure website content.

4. Avoid Login Option from a WebView

The WebView is a browser bundled inside a mobile application, essentially allowing access to shared links without leaving the app. While it is a useful feature, it should not become the standard for social login. It is true that most people use the dedicated apps for their social media platforms, but you should not assume that all your potential users have them. Therefore, you should avoid embedding social login in a WebView.

5. Provide a Simple Way to Log Out

Once people have logged in to your app with their social media accounts, they should also be able to log out in a quick and intuitive manner. Even though most of your users want to stay logged in and receive personalized notifications at all times, your app must allow them to take a break from your app and stop sharing their social login details with it.

This is even more important if you sell products from your app and the user’s account could be used by an unauthorized third party.

Finally, make sure that your app displays confirmations of secure login, as well as clear warnings when something went wrong. At the same time, provide your users with a quick way of reporting any error or difficulty in logging in, either in the traditional manner (email and password) or with their social media accounts.