Mobile app user registration: user&pass OR phone number?


(Abel Caballero Díaz) #1

Hi all, I’m starting to define and design a new mobile app and I’m wondering about the user registration process… What do you prefer:

  1. Registering with the mobile phone number (ala WhatsApp) --> seems easier for the user & if you get access to the contacts you can see which of them are already using the app

  2. Registering with user & password + Facebook/Twitter/Google OAuth --> most common and (I think) easier to develop.

And if you prefer no. 2, which OAuth would you prioritize?

Thanks
Abel


(Abhishek Tiwari) #2

@abelcd
Depends on your app’s use case.

If its a communication/messaging app having access to phone number and contacts feels appropriate to me. On the other hand if you are a shopping app, asking for phone number might come across disingenuous and I will feel like that you might spam me on that number or resell it.

Users perform similar value calculations in their mind for social logins too. However with improvements in FB controls, more and more people are getting comfortable with that as a Single Sign On method.


(Abel Caballero Díaz) #3

Thanks Abhishek!

I forgot to say it’s a social app. That’s why I’m thinking of registering users that way. Not sure how costly ir can be also…


(Abhishek Tiwari) #4

@abelcd Recommend going deeper. Is it social app where I do something with my friends as in browse food pics or movies (whatever), where I need access to my social graph? OR Is it a platform where the main use case is connecting with my friends (very messaging like).

If its #1, I recommend social logins as the expectation of accessing social graph will be built-in from the get go.
If closer to #2 then go with phone number.

Finally, you also have to be region aware. In certain geographies (Asia & Africa) people are more comfortable sharing phone number versus social or email options. They might identify with their phone numbers more than other options.

Hope that helps


(Thiago Ghilardi) #5

I agree with Shekyboy, users might not be willing to give out their ph for privacy reasons. I’d still choose OAuth (Facebook first) because if you lose your phone or change your number, your user may never comeback besides that number is going to be associated with an invalid user. By using OAuth, you get the user’s email and potentially their FB’s friends list for additional growth.


(Ravi Vyas) #6

If you TG is going to be Android users, you should take into account that you are make Phone number based registrations frictionless. (By automating the process of consuming the PIN/OTP)


(Simon Black) #7

I am in a very similar situation to you abelcd. I’m starting a quantified self/social app and am currently considering onboarding/authentication, so I’m very interested in contributions to this.

I can see the benefit of having mobile signup as a means of minimizing friction to maximize conversion. Email signups are a big pain-point and many users just don’t trust OAuth means. My own target market has a strong preference for signing up through email vs. OAuth (I didn’t test the market on phone signups), but email signups presumably have bad conversion rates vis-a-vis phone number signup.

I can’t find comparable figures, but the Digits signup team claim an average conversion rate of 85%, which sounds impressive at least. That said I can forsee numerous downsides (less access to uesrs’ social media contacts, less ideal login on web, user management etc). But with email decreasing in importance for young people - and if OAuth remains unpopular - I wonder if phone number signups is the future of app onboarding. Any thoughts?


(Ravi Vyas) #8

Also to take other points into consideration … if you don’t allow/use email, you will loose a retention/engagement channel. (Yes phone numbers allow for SMS, but it is a bad channel)


(Abel Caballero Díaz) #9

Thanks @Ravi ! There are pros and cons in both systems. That’s why it’s harder to choose…


(Abel Caballero Díaz) #10

Hi @simonb You’re right. I have the same thoughts as you and struggling to choose a registration system. Maybe you can get access to users’ social media contacts by asking for that, ala Linkedin (or a bit more clear than they do, I hope)…


(Abel Caballero Díaz) #11

Thanks @shekyboy. Very helpful!


(Abel Caballero Díaz) #12

Thanks @tghilardi for your comments. I see WhatsApp solves the changes in the phone and phone number very easily (I’ve been in both situations). I don’t know how difficult it can be to implement that solution.


(Ravi Vyas) #13

You need to figure out your TG. If it is emerging markets & Android, I would select the phone number option, if it is the developed market I would select email/oauth. In time you may need to support both.


(mark brophy) #14

In terms of a customers social graph - since Facebook rolled out changes to their Api (2.0) back in 2014 you no longer get the friend graph. If it is login then Facebook is good (like Google) but if you want to build on social connections then IMO there is more value in access to the phone book. A lot of people are still not aware of how unsocial the Facebook social login is for a developer building a social product.
Facebook is doing it for very good reasons protecting user data - but as a developer be very careful what you build on FB.


(Andrea Gavazzoni) #15

Talking from direct experience, if you don’t need to use Facebook’s SDK functions other than the login, go for the phone number.
Facebook gives you a lot more (e.g. profile picture, email…) but it’s painful to maintain and at every update you are at their mercy in terms of what you can or can’t get. Building the user database around Facebook is the thing I regret the most in the development of my app.


(Simon Black) #16

which method did you go with @abelcd ?


(Abel Caballero Díaz) #17

Hi @simonb I’m building the MVP with ionic and firebase, and I’m going to take advantage of it’s authentication built in methods. I’ll start with user email and password and, maybe, I’ll add facebook or google OAuth. Let’s see how it goes, although I think that registering with the phone number is easier for the user and to get access to the contacts book, It’s more difficult to implement plus the cost of the confirmation SMSs.

Thanks for your interest
Abel


(emy) #18

Depends on your app’s use which case.

If its a communication/messaging app having access to contact number
and contacts feels appropriate to me. On the other hand if you are a
BR Shopping , asking for phone number might come across disingenuous and
I will feel like that you might spam me on that number or resell it.

Users perform similar value calculations in their mind for social
logins too. However with improvements in FB controls, more and more
people are getting comfortable with that as a Single Sign On method.
os if you are any app are open that are sure this app request for Registration and then we login it.


(Emily Goldring) #19

As it’s been said, it really depends on your app. If it makes sense to have them use a number such as a messaging app, then go for it, but otherwise I’d leave the number out of it. Having a sign up using email/pass or social is much easier and less intrusive to the user.

I think this article does a nice job of laying out why users might be hesitant to fill out forms. It’s important to have the least barriers to sign up as well as not asking too soon for information or for too much information. So while it might be easiest to ask for a phone number, that’s very personal and could be a turn off for users.


(Laura Levy) #20

This can also be a question of localization. For example, many users in China generally prefer to log in with their phone number - a trend you can see clearly on popular platforms such as WeChat and QQ. Full disclosure, I work for Appsee, and we actually have an interesting use case that relates to this. One of our clients, Busuu, has users located all over the world. To better understand user behavior by geo, they utilized our session recordings and noticed that users in China continually struggled with pure email sign-up. This prompted them to build a registration A/B test where one of the variants allowed registration by either phone number or email. They found that their Chinese users preferred this option and ended up increasing their registration rates by 15%. I recommend that you assess your users’ behavior on the qualitative level and see what actionable insights you can get.

I want to also give my 2 cents as a millennial regarding Facebook login: I feel like there’s an underlying fear that if we log in using Facebook you will somehow have access to all our information, and also that it’ll give you access to post on our wall (yes, even though there’s a disclaimer that says otherwise!) So I expect that the login rate for you via Facebook would be lower.