The OverDrive Instant Digital Card (IDC) service is designed to bring new users to the library as quickly and seamlessly as possible. This “alternate ID” enables readers who download Libby to get a digital library card using only their mobile phone number. For the last year, we’ve been sharing stories about the successes libraries are experiencing in using this service to connect with more readers in their communities.

In just over a year, well over 100,000 new library cardholders have been created for the dozens of library systems offering the service. These new readers are generating hundreds of thousands of circulations for the libraries, increasing their checkout numbers and service population numbers.

Instant Digital Card gets a makeover

In mid-August, the sign-up process received a makeover designed to simplify it even further. When arriving at your library in Libby for the first time, you’re shown this screen:

OverDrive Instant Digital Card sign up

After tapping “Sign up for an instant digital card,” you enter your mobile phone number to receive a verification code to confirm you’re in the library’s service area…and that’s it! You now have a digital library card giving you 24/7 access to ebooks and audiobooks.

This has always been the general process, but previously there were a few more small steps and screens involved. What we noticed was that people were deciding not to complete the process, so we simplified everything to what you now see.

Simplified process leads to big results

Instant Digital Card Success

The results have been astounding. Overnight, the number of people signing up for and using IDC library cards doubled. We’re now seeing nearly 700 people per day and nearly 5,000 people per week creating library cards through the service. Most excitingly, these new users are generating a massive amount of circulations for the libraries. The San Antonio and Sacramento public libraries saw more than 200,000 additional loans of their materials in 2018 from these alternate ID cardholders.

Library Card Sign Up Month & Facebook ads

Instant Digital Card adTo celebrate Library Card Sign Up Month in September, and further test this new simplified process, we ran targeted Facebook ads in areas where libraries are supporting the IDC service. These ads generated record daily library card sign-ups multiple times for several libraries, in some cases adding over 100 new library users per day.

These tests confirm two things. First, by adding this alternate ID option, you can instantly open up a passive marketing opportunity in your community when people download Libby. Secondly, if you have even a small budget to promote your digital collection, combining this service and a simple social media ad creates a powerful way to bring an influx of new users to your library.

Research from recent OverDrive surveys shows that readers who borrow ebooks and audiobooks through apps like Libby are also more likely to visit the physical library. So, not only are you increasing your digital reading community, but you’re creating an opportunity to connect with members of your community who may not realize all of the wonderful things the library has to offer.

Contact your Account Manager today to add the OverDrive Instant Digital Card service to your digital collection.