What will Facebook’s anonymous login function mean for apps and users? This digital strategist lays it out.
During the F8 conference, Facebook announced a secondary login function that developers could build into their sites, which would allow users to login anonymously.
The crux of this new function is meant to make users feel more comfortable about logging into new apps and sites without fully investing their social graph to do so. And of course, one you’ve decided that you do want to share that data, it’s essentially a one-click adjustment.
But what will this actually mean for developers? Clearly Facebook saw a user need, and is investing in a renewed sense of privacy among the public. But so many apps today are built upon the backs of all that data, promising a curated experience, tailored to your interests, your friends interests, etc. How will such vibrant and flexible systems function in a world of randomly generated and disconnected ID’s?
The New Default Guest Mode
Users want a tailored experience. Developers need your data to deliver it. But maybe we’re just not ready for that kind of commitment…yet.
The hope with this new function is that it promotes trying new things. First, I see a mobile app install ad from Facebook. Looks interesting. So I head over, read about it, and decide to try it out. When I launch the for the very first time today, I’m immediately confronted with a request that would make Betty White blush. You want all my data? My friends, Interests, and access to post on my behalf? We just met, and you’re being very forward…
Enter Anonymous Login. Many desktop sites adopted “Login as Guest” functionality years ago, but this has since fallen away, as people have begun to login via their various social channels. But with the renewed interest in data protection, guest mode is perhaps ready for a revival. Facebook, by making this function easy to implement, as well as synced across devices, is hoping to become to new Guest Mode provider.
What’s in it for Facebook?
As Twitter and Google now offer login capabilities for 3rd party sites, Facebook has simply become one option among several. These are clearly not odds that Facebook is willing to accept.
By introducing Anonymous Login, Facebook is now the only social site that offers this capability. And for the myriad of first-time app users that may not feel comfortable sharing all their data immediately, this new feature is very appealing. So Facebook now has the opportunity to get users to choose a Facebook Login before all others.
And the reality is that once users test out the app and decide they like it, they will most likely want to enable all the social functions. Without it, many of these apps would be cold shells, poor shadows of what they were actually built to deliver. And if they’ve used Anonymous Login, then it will be a simple transtion from that, to the upbiquitous Login with Facebok.
What’s in it for Developers?
At first glance, offering people the option of a “lesser” first time experience is terrifying, especially given the fact that more than 80% of apps are only ever opened once. But my guess is that people are also beginning to notice the pattern of using an app only once, and in that realization, have become terrified at the number of apps they have and are granting their permissions to.
So by adding Anonymous Login, you are indicating to the user that it’s OK to give your app a test drive. You’re lowering the barrier to entry, with the promise of “there’s more where that came from”. In a way, if a user enjoys the lesser experience, and chooses to enable to social functions, they might be surprised to find they love the app even more. And that will lead to more loyal users over the long haul.
The beauty of all this is that Facebook is risking nothing by being the first network to offer this. If it fails, if developers don’t build this into their apps, then the reality is that it likely wouldn’t have worked for Twitter or Google either.
Enjoyed this rendezvous through social media? Recommend it! And feel free to reach out to me on twitter @gyrosean.
This post originally appeared on Medium.