More and more companies are seeing the value in social login. However, when researching providers, there is no industry standard on pricing or features making budgeting difficult. Here is a crash course on what to look for and how to estimate your cost.

Decoding the Pricing Model

Registrations: most social login provider fees are based on unique user registrations per year. This means paying for each user only once for the year. At the end of the year, the clock restarts and you pay again for the registered users.

Annual vs Monthly: paying annually is a good way to save on your annual budget, but you have to pay in advance. Monthly is easier on cashflow, but there is no discount.

Contract vs No Contract: some providers require an annual commitment. The challenge to committing to one year is that you have to estimate one year in advance how many users you will have and their connections (networks the user has connected to his/her account). If you overpay, you lose the amount paid or perhaps you can negotiate a transfer of unused users and if you underpay the additional users may be added on at the lower level therefore higher price. Other providers offer monthly payments plans based on the monthly registrations rather than the annual consumption. Here, the monthly payments will fluctuate but there is no commitment or estimating.

Bracket vs Cumulative: a pay-by-bracket model means that you estimate your annual usage then fall into a bracket and pay that amount all year round. The higher the bracket, the less you pay. In a cumulative model, you pay the amount specified at each level at that given time and the cost changes when you roll into the next level.

Multiple Domains: Multiple domains may or may not be included in the base price. Moreover, the number of users used to determine your pricing level, may be by domain or may be for all domains together. Lastly, if you have multiple domains, check to see if Single Sign On (SSO) is included. SSO will recognize users from different domains. This is useful for affiliated websites.

Features: a feature based pricing model will include or exclude features at different levels ie. data storage, exporting capabilities, access to analytics… What is important to you might only be available at the highest usage levels and vice versa. In all probability, all features are available for an add-on price.

Estimating your budget

Bottom line, you have to crunch the numbers to understand how much it will cost and evaluate what you are getting with each vendor.

Step 1: estimate your usage. You can do this by using the number of active members/users you have logging in yearly plus any increase you foresee given upcoming initiatives and your new social login. If you are starting from scratch benchmark using your annual unique visitors from Google analytics and estimate how many of those visitors will become members based on the value you are offering to login ie. community, contests, VIP offers… Step 2: list the features included. Understand what is important to your business model and see if they come with your usage levels. If they do not, contact the login provider to get the cost.

Last Tip!

One last tip, if you are not tech savvy, have a programmer review the documentation of each vendor you are considering. Price is not the only cost. The time and resources invested in the implementation and maintenance, if any, must be taken into consideration as well!

Social login is an asset to making websites social. At what cost? You’ll have to do your homework!