Social Sharing buttons actually decrease conversion ?

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