The Changing Face Of Consumer Identity: 10 Predictions For 2015

Social Login

With the introduction and rapid take up of technologies like social login, many companies such as Facebook, Google and Twitter have become ‘identity providers’. If you’ve ever signed up to a new website and chosen to login using a social media account rather than input your personal details then you will appreciate the advantages of this. This integration of digital identity is progressing further into our lives as it leaves the confines of the Internet and forms the connective tissue of the ‘Internet of Things’. Here are 10 predictions how consumer identity will shape up this year.

1. Apple Will Become An Identity Provider

While the introduction of Apple Pay in 2014 marked Apple’s first real foray into identity, 2015 will be the year that Tim Cook and crew stake their claim as a true third-party consumer Identity Provider (IdP). With over 200 million credit cards on file, deep relationships with financial institutions, knowledge of users’ on-device browsing behaviours, and insight into app downloads and usage, Apple has the ability to provide its millions of customers with unprecedented relevance and convenience as they move across the web. By making Apple ID usable outside of the brand’s own products and services, Apple has the potential to majorly disrupt the Identity landscape and position Apple ID as the new standard for consumer identity in 2015.

2. Payment Providers Will Become Mainstream IdPs On Mobile Devices

According to The Goldman Sachs Group, worldwide mobile commerce sales will account for nearly half of total web sales by 2018. With more than 60% of consumers likely to choose social over traditional registration when using mobile devices, expect to see a spike in share of social logins for payment providers like PayPal, Amazon and Google. On top of making it fast and easy for consumers to authenticate at site entry, these payment providers reduce barrier to checkout by pre-populating purchase fields with shoppers’ existing payment details, simplifying the mobile checkout process to just a few taps.

3. Regulations About Consumer Data Will Increase

As countries across the globe become increasingly protective of their citizens’ data, countries from Germany to Brazil are considering laws around international data storage and the use of local data centres. With consumer identity quickly becoming integral to how businesses “know the customer,” regional identity data regulation will continue to tighten over the course of 2015. As Russia rolls out its local storage mandate, countries across the world are sure to follow suit, forcing multi-national corporations to re-think how they store and use international customer data.

4. First-Party Identity Data Will Continue To Replace Third-Party Cookie Data

Not only is being unknowingly “cookied” and tracked across the Internet a violation of consumer privacy, but third-party cookies provide merely a peek at device-specific browser history that may or may not belong to a known user. Cookies are simply not effective across mobile devices, which now comprise up to 55% of total monthly Internet activity in the US. As customer demands for privacy and personalisation escalate in 2015, so will the adoption of identity data among leading businesses aiming to construct a permission-based, omni-channel view of their customers.

5. Facebook Will Maintain Its Majority Position As An IdP

Despite fierce competition across the social login landscape, Facebook has managed to cling to its position as the majority IdP across devices, industries and locations. The world’s largest social network even made incremental gains following the addition of new Facebook Login consumer data controls in 2014. These new features, which include line-by-line permissions and anonymous login, have had a positive impact on consumers’ perception of the social network and usage of Facebook as an IdP, which will continue throughout 2015.

6. Yahoo’s Presence As An IdP Will Disappear

It’s hard to believe that Yahoo’s quarterly share of social logins has fallen from a notable 18% to a dismal 6% in just one year. Not to mention, the network’s once 21% share of logins across North America has dropped 15 percentage points since Q3 2013. Once an identity provider of note, Yahoo will continue to face a steady decline as networks like Facebook and Google+ edge the company out of the IdP game. Despite its attempt to own consumer identity on its “home base” by barring Facebook and Google+ login across major Yahoo properties, Yahoo will have to find a way to increase the value of users’ Yahoo identities to continue to rank as a third-party IdP – a move that the network is unlikely to make.

7. Customer Identity Will Become Integral To The Success Of Marketing

According to a recent Experian survey, only 24% of businesses claim to have a single view of their customers across channels. As consumers create an increasing volume of data across a growing breadth of touch points and devices, a clear understanding of identity will become imperative to building meaningful customer journeys and relationships. Consumer-facing businesses will need to reconstruct the way they collect and manage customer identities, and marketing and IT will have to work together to put a comprehensive external identity management strategy in place.

8. ‘Identity 3.0’ Will Take Hold

In the late 1990s, Microsoft Passport helped introduce the concept of third-party identity across the web by enabling consumers to login to various sites using a single username and password. Facebook Connect and other social identity providers ushered in the second generation of web identity, allowing users to login with existing social media identities while providing brands with the information needed to personalise user experiences. Yet as consumers’ real identities become increasingly intertwined with their virtual lives, we can expect Identity 3.0 to come to full fruition in 2015. Identity 3.0 goes beyond social identities to include next-generation authentication methods, increased security and new applications of identity. 2014 saw the onset of Identity 3.0 as more consumers leveraged payment providers like PayPal to verify their identities and streamline checkout across e-commerce properties. The introduction of Twitter Digits, which allows users to authenticate using their phone numbers, and ApplePay’s Touch ID, which uses biometrics to identify shoppers at the POS, also marked the beginning stages of Identity 3.0.

9. Consumers Will Demand Control Over Their Identity Data

As consumers share more personal information across the web, they are becoming increasingly wary of how businesses are collecting and using their data. A recent survey found that while over 80% of consumers have abandoned online registration because they didn’t like the amount and/or type of information being requested, 45% are willing to share that information if the brand makes it clear how it will be used. Businesses must put transparency at the forefront of their data practices in 2015 and proactively address these privacy concerns by letting customers know upfront what data they want to collect, explaining how it will be used, and allowing them to easily opt in and out.

10. Identity Will Become Central To The IoT

The number of connected devices is expected to grow to more than 25 billion by 2020, and as consumers continue to build their arsenal of smart gadgets in 2015, they will look to brands to enhance connectivity and improve user experiences. The wristband that measures users’ activity levels will soon be a commodity. But the one that evaluates their heart rates and adjusts the speed of their treadmills based on their fitness profiles is golden. Central identity between devices will take the Internet of Things to a whole new level, enabling them to communicate with one another and create a personalised lifestyle for consumers.

Patrick Salyer

As chief executive officer, Patrick Salyer is responsible for Gigya's overall business strategy and day-to-day operations. Patrick previously held the position of Vice President of Strategy and Operations at Gigya, driving retail product strategy and operations as well as strategic partnerships including relationships with the top social networks and identity providers including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft. Before joining Gigya, Patrick co-founded a suite of social network applications and games and served as Associate Consultant for L.E.K. Consulting, a strategy consulting firm. Patrick holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University.