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I am working with a startup which is about to do its launch in maybe 2-3 weeks. In order to see the primary features of the site, the user has to register or sign in if they have already registered. We quickly decided we wanted to incorporate social plugins as alternatives to a conventional sign up, just like stackexchange does.

But seeing that we are strapped for time and fairly amateur developers, I'm trying to justify just choosing one or two social sign-ins to start with for the launch and then maybe add more later.

Based on my experience as a user, I'm guessing that twitter and google (in no particular order of importance) would probably be the most important social sign-ins in order to retain as many users as possible, but have absolutely no statistics to back that up other than my own anecdotal experience.

This question hasn't been visibly asked on the internet, so I figured I'd hop on stackexchange and give it a punt.

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3 Answers

This heavily depends on the target of the audience. For developers, I would offer a Login via Github. For all other matters, having a sign in via Facebook AND Twitter would not hurt.

What my company tough observed was, that even tough we are offering the login via Twitter and Facebook, 95% of the Users just sign in via a regular new account.

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I'd agree with Martin, adding social sign-ins later is probably the best. Since a standard login system is quick to code, rather than dealing with OAuth2 tokens. Which is what Google, and I believe Twitter uses. Not sure about Facebook. You can always add these later. A registration form the fewest inputs is best. Name, Email, Password to get started will help with higher registrations. –  Anagio Dec 9 '12 at 0:31
    
I agree with both Martin and Anagio. I've also found that users tend to sign up for a site-specific login, as I do myself (I don't want things tied to my Facebook). And keeping the registration as simple as possible but getting extra information later always helps as well. You should probably focus on getting the site live with your own login first, and then roll out the social connections later. –  Kenzo Dec 9 '12 at 11:53
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Audience research and testing is key. It really depends on what type of industry you are in and the value you are offering to the user in turn for their trust. I would start off by offering users a choice between traditional registration (email/password) and two or more social login providers.

Janrain, the company I work for, releases social login trends by industry on a quarterly basis that you can use as a starting point. Our latest white paper "Best Practices in Online User Registration" might also be a helpful resource to make sure you're thinking about database schemas, password encryption, verifying email addresses, and more.

Hope that helps.

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Great question here, David. I think Martin is absolutely right in that your target audience is always a good indication of which social networks to offer on your site when enabling social authentication. Gigya, the company I work for, provides social sign-in services for hundreds of websites, offering support for 27 identity providers. What we’ve found is that while Facebook is the preferred identity provider, businesses on the web should consider providing multiple login options. This is because nearly 40% of users prefer Yahoo, Google, Twitter or others. Check out this article from Tech Crunch: http://techcrunch.com/2012/01/18/want-more-stickiness-users-logging-in-through-social-networks-spend-50-more-time-on-site/

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