As part of its Facebook Journalism Project series, The Social Network has published a new set of tips on how to maximize the performance of sign-up and checkout flows for publications. And while the focus of the advice is on media publications specifically, the notes are relevant for all brands looking to grow their email lists, and boost direct connection with their audience.
First off, Facebook advises that simplicity, and speed, are key when looking to capture audience email addresses.
As noted in the graphic, the main objective is to capture an email address – some users will drop-off in the sign-up process, but once you have their email, you give yourself another opportunity to follow-up.
“Similarly, you don’t want to force users to immediately create an account - that adds an extra step of friction. Publishers should encourage guest checkouts, and once users have submitted their email address and actually paid, you can encourage them to create a login.”
Focusing on the key information you need at this point will not only enable you to maximize response, but it will also better facilitate conversion via mobile, as there’s less to enter for people on the go.
Another important consideration here is that 86% of users don’t want to create new accounts every time they sign up for a new service. Given this, you should consider enabling social logins to hasten the process.
You can see here how The New York Times offers various options for sign-up, maximizing their opportunities to gather e-mail addresses and contact info to bolster their lists. That screen may seem slightly cluttered, particularly given the focus on simplicity and speed highlighted in the previous point, but the various options ensure all bases are covered, and offering a range of processes may actually make their social logins process more appealing by comparison.
In terms of payment – which is obviously more focused on subscriptions to publications, as opposed to e-mail sign-up – Facebook advises that publishers should provide as many payment options as possible.
“At a minimum, you should have two, and ideally you should have three running and testing.”
This has relevance for eCommerce brands, or anyone looking to sell online – as one-click purchasing becomes more common, it’s also becoming the expectation, especially for mobile-based users (worth noting: 88% percent of users navigate their mobile phones with one thumb). As such, brands would be wise to provide as many alternative and simplified payment options as possible to maximize their opportunities.
Facebook also notes that brands should consider the various mobile-friendly features available to them to facilitate sign-up.
Of these, Facebook specifically notes the utilization of immediate notifications when a user has entered something incorrectly, and ensuring the correct keyboard option displays for each field (ie. Letters or numbers).
There are some good notes here which, as noted, apply to more than just publications looking to boost sign-ups. Really, the overall message is that as mobile becomes the key method of connection, you need to keep simplicity in mind – which will also benefit desktop users, regardless. And on this front, you need to stay up with the growing amount of mobile options and tools to streamline your sign-up and purchase flows.
There are more tips in the full Facebook Media blog post here.