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Think BR: Reaching the multi-device Consumer

Social login on mobile could open up new avenues for brands to connect with consumers, writes Russell Loarridge, European sales director, Janrain.

Russell Loarridge, European sales director, Janrain

Russell Loarridge, European sales director, Janrain

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A mobile strategy is now a given for most organisations. Yet despite investment in optimised sites and innovative apps; in creative ideas for exploiting evolving multi-device behaviour, the mobile reality has been disappointing to date with many brands struggling to achieve user engagement and significant revenue.

If brands cannot find a way of encouraging users to engage via the mobile and, critically, create a single, consolidated customer view across every platform, the mobile strategy will never fulfil its potential. Using existing social media identities via social login makes brand engagement easier for the consumer; and it provides the brand with a single view of the customer across multiple devices that can be used to push highly personalised, time- and location-based offers as well as improve brand interaction.

The mobile tipping point

We live in a mobile-first world. The mobile has now tipped over to become the device of choice for consumers accessing the internet. Recent figures from Buzzcity suggest that upwards of 77% of consumers now go online solely via their mobile.

Yet while the vast majority of organisations, from retailers to publishers, are beginning to create mobile strategies and nearly 40% of top 100 brands have a mobile optimised website according to the latest IAB statistics, many are still experiencing extremely low rates of response and conversion via the mobile.

Organisations respond to the fast-growing mobile usage from consumers in varying ways - dedicated mobile apps, responsive design in the browser, and HTML5, to name a few. Despite this huge and growing investment, today just a fraction of organisations are able to attribute any meaningful revenue generation to the mobile platform. And one of the key challenges facing these organisations is the difficulty of creating a usable environment within the constraints of the small screen device.

Whether browsing, shopping, or interacting via social channels, users want a simple, intuitive experience from the moment they arrive at a site.

Naturally, most sites require a user login in order to provide an engaging experience like commenting, sharing, and purchasing. But one of the biggest barriers to achieving engagement is asking mobile users to register by slowly entering details such as name and password or filling in a registration form via small touchscreens or tiny keyboards. Yet without providing a way of engaging with customers, organisations cannot evolve the mobile strategy to ask for any information at all.

The easiest way to provide that engagement infrastructure is via the social identities used by millions as a matter of course to keep in touch with communities of friends and family. Offering social login and enabling users to register via an existing social identity such as Facebook, Twitter, Google or LinkedIn not only eases engagement but it also supports the growing consumer desire to share personal data in order to receive more relevant offers and information from brands. 

Indeed, according to recent research on social login, as many as 85% of UK consumers think social login should be offered as an alternative when registering for a website.

Multi-device behaviour

The shift to mobile is only half the story. As a recent study from Google reveals, 90% of people now move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that is on smart phones, PCs, tablets or TV.

Social login also provides a way of creating a single view of customers across multiple channels. By encouraging customers to login via a social network on all their devices, brands create a single customer view across every platform and, critically, can begin to gain insight into the way consumers are accessing and engaging via multiple devices.

"This understanding is essential because mobile is clearly driving new forms of consumer behaviour. Consumers are likely to use different social logins dependent upon time of day, location, brand perception or across different vertical markets - Twitter or LinkedIn accounts may be used when at work or travelling; whilst Facebook and Google may be more popular when shopping or interacting at home," adds Jamie Beckland, digital and social media strategist, Janrain.

It is therefore important to put in place a tool that not only enables multiple social logins to be mapped to a single customer account but can also pull publicly available information from other social media accounts to create a more in depth customer profile.

Exploiting this permission-based personal data sharing immediately transforms the revenue generating potential of the mobile channel. Brands not only have up to date information about customers and their interests but can also exploit GPS to deliver time- and location-based offers. Targeted push marketing can reflect users’ specific profile attributes and adding the time and location dimension can drive new levels of interaction and engagement.

A complex environment leads to opportunity

The key issue for retailers, publishers and other service providers is understanding how consumers are moving from device to device - and increasingly using more than one device simultaneously.

For example, 81% of people will start to browse on one device and then move to another - perhaps as they reach the office, arrive home or embark on a journey; 77% of the time that viewers watch TV, it is with another device. Retailers are now losing sales to showrooming, where consumers use their mobile to compare the price of goods whilst standing in a store and touching the product.

"This increasingly complex pattern of behaviour creates clear challenges for businesses. But with deeper customer understanding, a retailer can, for example, exploit GPS to push offers to a consumer to encourage purchase in store and avoid a sale lost to a cheaper online competitor. Similarly, the growing use of smart phones and tablets whilst watching television provides a very real opportunity to reverse the trend towards declining live TV audiences, and associated advertising revenues. Improving the interactive experience will encourage consumers to watch live TV rather than on demand," Beckland adds.

During Channel 4’s live Million Pound Drop, for example, nearly 12% of viewers are watching the TV and playing the game simultaneously on another device, whilst also tweeting. The consumer gains a far deeper, more rewarding watching experience during the two hour show - and is compelled to watch live to gain the benefits of the interactive experience; whilst the broadcaster not only has a higher live audience but also, via the social login information, far greater insight into this audience, improving the value of the advertising opportunity; and the advertiser gains access to a highly segmented, captive audience.

Conclusion

Mobile strategies are increasingly heading the agenda for businesses. There are clear opportunities to increase revenue and exploit changing consumer behaviour to deliver new levels of innovative, targeted and time sensitive messaging to improve the brand experience.

However, the fundamental requirement for any successful mobile strategy must be the creation of a simple way of enabling users to engage with the brand. Without offering an easy way for consumers to login via the mobile in the first place, innovative and creative mobile strategies will be worthless.

By responding to the clear consumer demand for social login on the mobile, brands not only overcome the current limitations of mobile engagement; but also gain immediate access to in depth consumer preference and behaviour information that can drive critical mobile strategies and underpin significant revenue generating activity.

Russell Loarridge, European sales director, Janrain

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