Why we use phone number sign-ups and you should too…

Social Proximity

Omar Seidu Farouk
Mar 30, 2015 · 3 min read

Our primary aim for building Beep is to help users meet new people through friends. This starts with social proximity; your friend network and location. Phone number sign-ups allows us to learn which of your contacts are also using the app to help us suggest socially “relevant” people you can meet.

While social networking services give you the full list of your users’ friends, those connections may not be up to date or relevant to the app experience you’re delivering — Twitter

Even though some users may also not care about allowing apps to use their location even when the app is not in use, we do not necessarily have to burden them. An app should be able to make the most decision from the least amount of information provided.

Simple, Safe and Verifiable

Your phone number is like an online passport. It is the simpliest most effective way to verify and authenticate users. The entire mobile financial service industry (Mobile Money, Mobile Insurance, Mobile Savings and Mobile Credit) is built around phone numbers.

When Google wants to secure your account, they ask for your phone number.

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Gmail phone number verification screen

Your mobile phone is a more secure identification method than your recovery email address or a security question because, unlike the other two, you have physical possession of your mobile phone — Google

After being flooded with fake profiles and user accounts, some dating apps such as Badoo are now trying to verify their users with phone numbers.

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The Badoo profile verifaction process basically requires users phone number

Technical Cost of Social Logins

Social logins may be free and relatively easier to intergrate but they do not come cheap! Once you are ready to hand over control of your users’ credential to a third party, you should also brace yourself for unexpected interuptions in your service.

There is always a price to pay when the service you provide is somewhat dependent on an API that is beyond your control. Meerkat had a taste of this when Twitter apparently started blocking their auto-tweet feature from it’s service. The issue was later resolved but your app may not be so lucky.

Social Anxiety

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Even for Candy crush players, the Facebook notification can become annoying

There would always be some sort of social anxiety by users to sign into apps with their existing social network because of the possibility of posting on their wall or spamming their friends. I have a lot of friends who play Candy Crush and got hammered by those annoying invites on Facebook. I feel I can really relate to this Samuel L. Jackson meme anytime I see an invite from a Facebook friend.

All said and done…

Phone number sign-ups is not only a user authentication process but a reliable social graph developers can adopt to improve their app’s experience. It has relieved us of third party login complexity giving us a smooth onboarding process that allows us to focus on what matters the most; Users.

It’s working for us and might just be what your app’s sign-up process and experience is missing.

If this post was remotely helpful to you or have similar experience with your sign-up process recommend on Medium or follow us on Twitter @OfficialBeep ☺

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