Forrester logo Download the report

When Social Marketing Goes Terribly Wrong

When it comes to handling consumers’ data, the end result can either go terribly wrong, or result in a significant lift in conversion for your business. It all depends on how you handle the information your consumers choose to share with you.

To help your business manage and leverage your sensitive data wisely and responsibly, we’ll go over a few data blunders and provide tips on how to combat each one.

Data Blunder #1: Create Barriers to Account Creation

According to a Forrester report, 11% of adults admit to abandoning an online purchase because they didn’t want to register online or felt that the site asked for too much information. How many times have you wanted to have access to more content or make a purchase on a website, only to be deterred by a lengthy account registration form like this?

(Image Source: Webgranth)

What’s more, with mobile usage on the rise, the propensity to abandon the account creation process due to difficulty with registration grows. After all, who wants to type out all their personal details using just their two thumbs on a 5×2” screen?

How to Combat This

Let’s face it: Registration is tedious. So how do increase your registration conversions by making the process a little less painful on your users?

Consider social login, which acts as a gateway to first party consumer data by allowing customers to authenticate their social identities securely and easily. This enables the customer to log in to your site with his existing social profile, while giving you access to actionable insights contained within these social channels.

Here’s a social login dialog from

As you can see here, offers six social network options for its users to choose from, as well as the option to register for an account by filling out a traditional form.

What’s more, the benefits of social login are measurable: we surveyed thousands of companies and found that they averaged a 33% increase in new registrations after implementing social login on their sites.

Check out more social login benefits below.

(Image Source: Gigya Blog)

Data Blunder #2: Don’t Capture Actionable Data at Registration

McKinsey estimates that a retailer using big data to its full potential can drive its operating margin by more than 60 percent. While getting your registration numbers up is an achievement in itself, it’s not enough to simply collect user records if they don’t contain any actionable insight.

Consider the following scenario: A potential customer wants to register for a site account, but it isn’t clear to him why he should share his personal information with your company. Out of fear of receiving unsolicited email newsletters and calls, he registers with a fake email address, home address, and phone number. Although your business technically just got a new registration, you know nothing about this user. In fact, because he fabricated his registration data, this can hurt your business when you attempt to send marketing communications and analyze your data for intel on user demographics.

How to Combat This

First off, it’s important to know the differences between traditional and social data. The chart below compares the two data sets, offering you a look into the insights you can garner from each registration method.

(Image Source: Gigya Blog)

As the chart shows, social unlocks a wealth of dynamic, actionable information, such as a user’s education history, hometown, photos, relationship status, and more, while also automatically pulling the data typically contained in traditional registration forms, such as email address and birth date.

To start enabling social data capture, invest in a identity management platform that collects user identities in a way that’s safe and streamlined. You’ll also want to clearly communicate to your users exactly how their personal data will be used before prompting them to register using their social accounts. This promotes the transparency that’s so integral to earning customers’ trust.

Data Blunder #3: Not Segmenting Your Customers (or Segment Them Poorly)

In an official statement, a spokeswoman from Shutterfly admitted that the company’s intended audience for that particular email campaign were individuals that had recently purchased birth announcements on, making it painfully clear that the business is sorely lacking in the audience segmentation department.

Once a business figures out how to collect and store social data, the question becomes more about how they’re going to effectively segment and use this information to enhance marketing insights and personalize brand experiences. After all, what’s the point of gathering all this data if you haven’t yet figured out how to tailor your marketing strategy around it?

How to Combat This

Data segmentation is tricky business. Not only is big data a lot to handle on the technical front, it’s also difficult knowing exactly what to segment and how to go about breaking down your audience base in a way that makes sense from an ROI perspective.

To help you with this process, here are some ways you can segment your audience:

  • Location – Segment your customers by where they live and send email announcements for local store sales to encourage more frequent shopping.
  • Interests – Group your audience by individual interests and consider delivering exclusive discounts to users based on the products that best match their interests.
  • Behaviors – Segment your users by specific actions, such as their shopping histories, to serve product recommendations based on their past purchases.
  • Account Activity – Have a handful of customers that have abandoned their shopping carts for more than a week? Send them personalized emails reminding them to complete their purchases.

Don’t Repeat The Same Mistakes

As important as it is for any marketer to continually experiment with new techniques and strategies, it’s just as crucial that businesses refrain from repeating bad history — that is, making the same mistakes as others have made in the past. In this way, it’s important for businesses to metaphorically look over their shoulders from time to time, examining and growing from the past while carrying out newer, better methods for connecting with consumers.

By Emma Tzeng

Meet us at

Consumer Identity World USA
Seattle, USA

September 12 - 13, 2017
View Event >
Consumer Identity World USA, September 12-13, 2017, Seattle