Social Sharing buttons actually decrease conversion ?

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There is a very interesting case study on the Visual Website Optimizer blog about how having social media sharing buttons on an ecommerce site actually decreased conversion on an ecommerce website.

And its not a small percentage either.  An 11% boost in conversion once the social media sharing buttons were removed.

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Some interesting facts from the article:

Some of the theories as to why having social media sharing buttons decreased conversions:

  • Having zero shares shows a negative social proof…  The consumer is coming to the conclusion that the products are not selling well,  the site is not getting much traffic,  or people just don’t think its worth sharing.
  • Having the social buttons can be a distraction.

I love reading case studies…  Everyone can have a theory but there is nothing like experience and quantified data.  BTW If you don’t use Visual Website Optimizer you should.  Its by far the best thing out there.

Check out the full case study here

16 thoughts on “Social Sharing buttons actually decrease conversion ?

  1. Vinay kakumani

    Hi jeremy, Thanks for sharing the truth about social media sharing button. I totally agree with you about the first point “Having zero shares shows a negative social proof… The consumer is coming to the conclusion that the products are not selling well, the site is not getting much traffic, or people just don’t think its worth sharing” it is cent percent true.

  2. Phillip Dews

    They all say that less is more hey Jeremy! I recently overhauled my blog and I now only have a few of the main social sharing buttons i.e. FB, Twitter and G+ and SU.

    Too many can ruin the look of a blog much like loads of Ads! I now only have one above and one below my posts! I read somewhere that a car company increased it’s sales by 80% by reducing it’s contact form from 12 fields to just 4.

    Like I say sometimes less is more! People were put off my by overcrowded and cluttered blog so I took an axe to it a few weeks and and now my traffic has virtually doubled, saying that I am not yet reaching the numbers that you are getting these days!

    Thanks for sharing Dude!
    - Phillip Dews

  3. Will2Create

    That’s what i love about this business, so many variables, so many factors, so many hues, a platform built for only true designers.

  4. Harley Deans

    This IS very interesting. With everyone shouting off about social media importance this just really makes you think.

  5. Jake

    I’m going to go ahead and call bullshit. Sure in a report if you’re not getting an engagement rate that you want it may see like a bad thing, but you have to get more big picture with it. You want to make it easier for your audience to share you information, that’s the whole damn point. Yea some people are going to go the traditional route but unless your social media buttons are hugely invasive they can only benefit you/your site.

  6. Laura Underwood

    We offer a ‘pin it’ button along with other social media sharing buttons on our site when people check out items and we have only seen an increase in sales by using this. Things don’t get shared as much via twitter and facebook as much as pinterest. But when tracking where people are coming from and making purchases, 23% of our sales are coming from pinterest. I really don’t think the the social media options are all that deterimental.

  7. Todd

    I’d like to hear about any other sites they tried this with, the one example is good but I’d like to see some more.

  8. J. Whitfield

    What about instead of getting rid of the buttons entirely, what would happen if they just moved them? I agree that it looks better without the buttons, but it was poorly designed in the placement.

  9. Online Income For Everyone

    I would say it is important not to have the social sharing too obtrusive. Most people are there for a purpose other than social sharing. A good way to handle is to have them at the check-out. Test test test with different placement on your site and see what happens.

    Tim Wayne

  10. James Thompson

    Do you think that removing the social sharing buttons would reduce the overall (absolute) number of conversions they have over the long run? Are they sacrificing a social share now for the short-term conversion?

  11. Kostas Chiotis

    That’s really interesting however it would be better to have a more complete view which should show what was the overall effect on sales for a longer period. For example in long term that might lead to slower growth of their social followers and as a result impact brand aweraness and sales…

  12. lienak

    Hi, Jeremy Schoemaker. I like your article. It is very informative so it is very useful for my job. Thanks for sharing this post. Hope to read more helpful information from you. Have a nice day!

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