Around the Water Cooler – Social Sharing Buttons Report
A huge report on stats regarding social media sharing button effectiveness has been the hot topic at the web designer water cooler. I wanted to share in case you weren’t aware.
"61 million mobile sessions we studied, we found that only 0.2% of mobile users do any social sharing…" Moovweb.com
What does this mean? People aren’t using the social sharing buttons on mobile devices from websites. Since mobile device traffic is on average over 60%, that puts quite a crimp on the importance of social sharing buttons.
The article nails one of the top reasons why: "users must be logged in in order to share…" on a mobile phone. Who wants to login manually? No one.
Should You Stop Using Social Sharing Buttons?
Let’s go through the pros and cons. First the pros:
- Marketing logic says these will remind people to share the page or post with their networks.
- Showing how many shares is good "social proof" and reaffirms it’s popular.
- ‘Cause all the big guys are doing it…
Okay, the cons:
- Social media icons take up a lot of visual space on a page and detract from more important marketing messages.
- Only 0.2% of users ever click on the sharing button – ouch!
- Social media sharing buttons with stats turned on slow down websites (they check with each individual social network and that takes time)!
- Even with stats turned off, most social sharing plugins slow down your website.
The last part – slowing down your website – is what has the web design community talking up a storm. Anything that slows down a website is evil. You only have three seconds before site abandonment kicks in (harsh I know, but unfortunately reports have been consistent on this issue).
Given that desktop folks are likely 40% of your website traffic (and increasingly losing ground), most of us are better off without the sharing buttons.
What am I doing? Presently, I have the fastest sharing plugin I could find, Simple Share Buttons (but I don’t use the Google Fonts with it – slows things down.) But I’ll do some heat map tests to see how often people are actually using them.
Are you using social share buttons and do they work for you?