Shoppers prompted to share their Facebook data with online retailers opt-in 56% of the time
At first glance, the Facebook Permissions request can look like an intimidating hurdle for users of Facebook applications. The assumption often made about the Facebook Permissions request is that it asks for information users are not willing to share, that users are put off due to privacy concerns, and therefore that they opt-in at lower rates.
We wanted to find out for ourselves, and recently wrapped up an in-house study that indicates this assumption simply isn’t true. Our research found that users authorize Facebook Permissions at a much higher rate than people imagine – more than 50% of the time on average.
Facebook Permission Screen on Backcountry.com
To evaluate the likelihood that a shopper on an ecommerce site will share their Facebook data, we measured the percentage of users who accepted the Facebook Permissions when prompted by a Facebook ‘request for permissions’ dialog (shown at right). The data set comprised Facebook Permissions accept/decline rates for 1.2 million unique ecommerce site visitors who were served 42 different social applications from March to November 2011.
For the 42 applications, we found that the Facebook Permissions authorization rate was 56% on average. The median rate was 58%, and the first and third quartiles were 50% and 66% respectively. Users authorized the use of their social data by clicking “allow” on the permissions request dialog.
These results provide compelling evidence that shoppers on ecommerce sites are willing to share their Facebook social data in exchange for utilizing engaging social features.
We found that higher opt-in rates for Facebook Permissions were generated when the social applications had any of the following characteristics:
- Great Value to the User. The more perceived value to the user of the social application, the higher the likelihood they were willing to share their Facebook data. An example is an application that gives the user an incentive when their Facebook friends participate. When the application needs to know who your friends are in order to credit you, you are more likely to opt-in.
- High Brand Trust. Higher user trust in a brand results in higher opt-in rates. Users with pre-existing relationships with an ecommerce brand opted-in at greater rates. Sites where traffic is largely being driven via SEO and SEM efforts tended to have lower opt-in rates.
- Lower Number of Permissions. The more permissions asked for in the request dialog, the lower the opt-in rate. The best practice in driving permission acceptance is to only serve permissions that are necessary to the application.
The great promise of personalization based on the social graph hinges on whether consumers are willing to share their personal social data with online retailers. We believe that while this technology is new, the adoption rates are already quite promising. Facebook Permissions authorization rates nearing 60% demonstrate that users are willing to share their information in exchange for a better user experience. It’s now up to us as designers, developers, and site owners to create the compelling social experiences that compel users to participate at even higher rates.