9 min read
Social SSO
Thinking about using social logins in your app or platform? Discover the benefits of social logins for users and companies.

Which social logins to use and how to implement them

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With so many platforms to keep track of, password fatigue is real, which means creating and memorizing safe passwords for different platforms is increasingly difficult.

The traditional username and password protocol for signing up and logging in to platforms is rapidly being replaced by alternate, passwordless methods. Social logins are at the forefront of this change.

Social logins allow users to sign in to different websites and apps using their existing social accounts on other platforms, with just a few clicks.

However, it’s important to note that different social identity providers offer varying degrees of privacy and security features. By understanding the nuances of each social login platform, users can make informed decisions about what information they’re sharing with third-party organizations.

What is Social Login?

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Social login is a form of single sign-on (SSO) allowing users to access a variety of digital resources without having to create another account.

The term refers to an authentication protocol that allows users to sign into a third-party website by using an existing social network provider, such as Facebook or Google.

Its primary use is to streamline the user’s access to a third-party digital resource. By linking their existing social media accounts, users can sign in with a single click and avoid the hassle of creating new credentials.

It benefits both users and developers as it reduces the friction of signing up and logging in. This effectively improves UX and can lead to higher conversion rates as users are able to skip the inconvenience of the registration or log-in procedure.

How does social login work?

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Social login is a simple process.

  1. The user goes to the website, app, or platform that they want to access.
  2. The user selects the social network they want to use to log into the third-party platform. They might see a prompt that looks like “Sign in with Google,” or “Log in with Twitter.”
  3. The social network provider receives the user’s request and verifies their identity, completing the authentication process on behalf of the third-party platform.
  4. In some cases, the user will need to agree to the access permissions that the third-party platform is requesting.
  5. Finally, the user’s sign-in credentials are automatically filled in via the social network chosen, and access is granted.

This flow only takes a few clicks and is much less tedious than filling out a registration form to set up a new account.

From a developer’s standpoint, social logins generally use two key components to make the process happen, OAuth2.0 and OpenID Connect.

OAuth 2.0 is an authorization protocol that grants third-party apps permission to securely access an HTTPS service through a process of delegated authorization. This means that third-party platforms can request access information in a user’s existing social media data, which might include things such as name, email address, age, and even location.

OpenID Connect is an authentication protocol that supports third-party log-ins. This is the process that allows users to access the third-party platform by using their existing credentials from other social media networks, eliminating the need for multiple login credentials.

Combining OAuth2.0 and OpenID Connect enables social logins as it securely and efficiently facilitates the exchange of user data and login credentials between third-party apps and social media providers.

The combination of these protocols streamlines the process for the user, and also provides reliable user data to the developer and company, too.

The benefits of using social logins

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Social logins reduce friction around signing up and signing in, while also helping to mitigate password fatigue.

But the benefits of social logins extend beyond UX. For companies, it boosts conversion rates and offers comprehensive user profiles. Let’s explore a range of benefits that social login offers to both users and enterprises.

According to LoginRadius close to 70% of 18-25 year-olds prefer social login. And while these statistics do tend to dip as the age range increases, as it’s becoming more commonplace, the ease of use is sure to continue to push the popularity of this protocol.

Let’s look at the full list of user benefits:

  • Better UX as the process of signing up and logging in is sped up and friction reduced, leading to an increased conversion rate of up to 54%.
  • Studies show that 86% of people report being bothered by having to create new accounts and often re-use passwords for convenience, social logins can help reduce password fatigue.
  • With 88% of people admitting to using fake or inaccurate information in the login process, simplifying the process and using an existing account that’s been verified by the social network can boost your data quality.
  • With just one click to sign back in, it makes future log-ins easier.
  • Users feel more at ease using platforms where they already hold accounts. This means users are more likely to share their data with new platforms via existing social networking platforms they already trust.

Benefits for companies and developers

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Social logins have quickly become popular among users for their convenience and speed. But it also offers a range of benefits for the developers and companies who employ this SSO protocol.

From increased user verification, to access to richer user data, to increased conversions, let’s dive into the full list of benefits:

  • Social logins provide access to rich user profile data as information from the user’s profile such as birthday, email, name, location, interests, and network, can be shared with the third party, even without the user’s input. This allows for content to be personalized and users targeted with specific offerings.
  • The process of verification is done by the social media network, providing an additional layer of security to confirm that access attempts are from real and trustworthy users, which can reduce spam and fraudulent logins with fake or temporary credentials.
  • Simplifies the registration and sign-in process, which can lead to higher conversion rates.
  • Social logins can be free to implement as social login APIs are often provided for free and support a range of social logins.
  • Helps to reduce overhead costs associated with failed logins and troubleshooting security alerts and password requests.
  • Provides a seamless interface for online shoppers, which can lead to less cart abandonment and more purchases.
  • Contributes to a comprehensive customer profile, as users link their social accounts to various applications, providing a better understanding of user behavior.
  • Boosts adoption and loyalty, as users are more likely to continue using a product or service when they have a positive experience.

Possible drawbacks for social logins

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From a security and privacy perspective, social logins can become a single point of failure. This means that if an attacker does gain access to a user’s social media credentials, they can use these this access other platforms that the user has signed up for using the same social login details.

These compromised credentials can be used to log in to a number of accounts, provided these accounts are linked. This means that the risk of leaked data increases with a social sign-on protocol.

This is why it’s important to implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) when using social logins.

By requiring users to provide a second form of verification, MFA can add an extra layer of security. This might be done in the form of a one-time password (OTP).

What are the best social login options available?

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Social logins are a convenient way for users to sign up for different websites and apps without having to create and remember multiple usernames and passwords.

However, each social login platform has its own privacy features and implementation will differ from platform to platform. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the most popular social identity providers.

With Facebook login, users can customize permissions to control which information is shared with third-party platforms. Developers also tend to prefer Facebook social login as they can customize default permissions to fit their specific use case. In this way, Facebook login strikes the perfect balance between convenience and privacy.

Google accounts for a majority of social logins, and almost 4 billion people have Google accounts. Google logins are also often favored by developers as it grants a wide range of access permissions to user profile data. Currently, this solution doesn’t allow users to alter permissions without reauthentication with each third-party platform.

With LinkedIn logins, users don’t have the ability to control the permissions of what the third-party platform can access. While this seems challenging from a privacy standpoint, it’s important to remember that LinkedIn has some of the strictest approval processes for information requests. LinkedIn logins are a good choice for platforms relevant to professionals, as well as service providers in the B2B space.

This protocol is also best suited for the B2B space, as Microsoft accounts tend to be held by users in a professional capacity. In order to use Microsoft logins, the third-party platform must first be registered with Azure AD.

This protocol has some unique privacy and security features that may benefit the user. For instance, this protocol tends to only ask for the user’s name and email address, and this can make it easier for a user to hide their personal account information. However, it is one of the most secure options as it generally incorporates MFA.

Social logins at Kinde

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Kinde supports a full range of social login providers, and the list is still growing. Currently, Kinde supports the following social network providers:

  • Apple
  • Discord
  • Facebook
  • GitHub
  • GitLab
  • Google
  • LinkedIn
  • Slack
  • Twitch
  • Twitter

And if the social network you’re looking for isn’t on our list yet, contact us or secure a demo today.

With an easy-to-integrate protocol, Kinde can boost conversion rates, increase security, and improve user experience. Integrating social logins with Kinde has never been easier.

See how Kinde compares to other authentication providers.

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