Janrain's new registration management tools can hack the "getting to know you" game

By Michael Carney , written on December 19, 2012

From The News Desk

There is more thought and innovation that goes into the design of website registration experiences than the typical web surfer would ever realize. Each site visit has become a choreographed dance between visitor and designer. One side typically looks to get in and get out as quickly and privately as possible, while the other aims to painlessly extract as much personally identifiable information as possible, and in turn deliver a personalized experience. The best of the best do so by rigorously A-B testing every minute detail from button color and placement, to question language and order of delivery, all with the hope of optimizing conversion.

Janrain, the leading company in user registration management – yes that's really a thing – is rolling out the next generation of its platform today. Existing clients like Mattel, Dr. Pepper, Fox News, Whole Foods, and Purina among many others already rely on the seven-year-old Portland startup to capture the rich user profile data that allows them to deliver personalized user experiences. Today they’ll get the ability to create more customizable and dynamic workflows, and to offer additional social tools to expedite the process.

The registration optimization company is fighting a real battle. Research has shown that 86 percent of consumers are irritated by the need to register at a website. A similar ratio will give false information or fail to complete forms when asked to create a new account. But, despite this, users prefer the personalized Web, whether they’re willing to admit it or not, and companies rely on registration information to deliver it.

Social logins offer a big shortcut in this information gathering process, offering typically difficult to collect facts like verified email address, name, birthdate, location, gender, marital status, and interests. More product specific information is typically collected through asking a series of questions that, under the updated platform, will now display dynamically in real-time based on known data or a user’s previous responses. Janrain allows companies to execute this “getting to know you process” on their website, or within branded Facebook apps for contests and promotions

Visitors to the Purina pet food website, for example, may hypothetically be asked a single question upon visiting: “Dog or cat?” The answer to this question will then inform the entire follow-on experience, from what ensuing questions are asked to what content is served. Eventually, after the user inputs details like pet size, breed, gender, and age, she may be asked to share a coupon or cute commercial with her social networks in exchange for additional product discounts. Before long, the site has built a detailed profile with everything it could ever need to know about our user, and her pet. If Janrain is doing its job, this will happen more subtly and effectively than had the site simply placed a “Register Here” button blatantly on its homepage.

Once all this data is collected, Janrain assists its clients with data storage and customer intelligence analytics. The company’s dashboard allows brands to segment and target marketing according to demographic and psychographic characteristics of their users, based on attributes such as age, gender, location, interests, and favorite music, movies, and books.

Through its paid and open-sourced solutions, over 365,000 websites currently use Janrain technology to power their registration flows. The company supports login via over 30 different identity providers worldwide, including region specific platforms from Renren and Sina Weibo in China, to Mixi in Russia. Rather than keeping up with constant API changes across each of these platforms, companies can rely on Jarain to do so on their behalf. The product is available on a freemium basis, with pricing based on user registration volume. The company has raised a total of $19.8 million across three financing rounds from DFJ Frontier, RPM Ventures, Anthem Venture Partners, and Emergence Capital Partners.

Every website owner is looking for ways to acquire more online users, learn about them more effectively, and engage with them to deliver tailored content, products and services. Driving additional and more revealing profile creation is among the best ways to accomplish this. Users may not always appreciate or acknowledge the benefit they receive from the more customized experience that results, but they’re growing more comfortable and familiar with the concept daily.