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Do I Need Social Share Button on my Website?
Do I Need Social Share Button on my Website?
Heather Tullos avatar
Written by Heather Tullos
Updated over a week ago

A common conflict that we have to work to resolve on websites is the placement of social sharing buttons. Often the default or chosen settings in a social sharing plugin will cause the buttons to overlap high viewability ads which is a policy violation, but ads and ad policy are not the only only reason to reconsider your social sharing tools.

What are Social Share Buttons?

Why Social Share Buttons Don’t Actually Work

Maybe not what you expected to read in a help article written by a company that offers a social sharing plugin, but hear us out.

There’s not actually any data that supports readers utilizing these buttons to share content.

Research from several companies that explore mobile experiences and conversion has found that not even one quarter of one percent of mobile users ever utilize a mobile sharing button. Desktop conversions clocked in at just 0.6%.

Think about your site as a reader, not a blogger.

Even savvy readers are not as familiar with the ins and outs of the web as the most inexperienced blogger. They have long-standing surfing habits, preferred browsers, and a typical, familiar way they share content on the web. Browsers do most of the heavy lifting for the reader.

Safari and Chrome both offer very simple ways to share via text, email, messenger, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

The majority of readers are on mobile, so that is where most of your traffic is taking action.

Think about the last time you wanted to share content you found on the web that was not on your own site. Did you send it via text or messaging application? Did you add to your Safari reading list or leave the tab open in your mobile browser for easy access?

These are the methods that typical readers use to share.

Other pitfalls of social sharing buttons

Mediavine began to offer Social Share as a way to provide a social sharing plugin for our publishers that has site speed in mind, because more often than not, social sharing plugins are slow. They are common culprits on pagespeed reports.

Often the color choices made when publishers customize social share buttons are flagged as accessibility issues. Correct color contrast and creating a space on the web that can be read by the visually impaired is very important.

Ad policy violations. Buttons that overlap ads can cause an increase in invalid click activity. Sometimes readers are looking for ways to close out anything that is in the way of the content they are trying to consume, and if multiple elements are overlapping, ads can be accidentally clicked. Advertisers track that click activity, and if it’s too high they will throttle spend and potentially a policy violation that then needs to be appealed and overturned.

Reevaluate your social share strategy

Since the data so heavily supports social sharing buttons NOT being used by readers, is their prolific presence on most blogs simply due to publishers just seeing them on other sites and assuming they convert?

Making design and tooling decisions based on real world reader behaviors, and creating a site that supports that experience in both form and function is an important step towards building a sustainable business.

It turns out that you likely don’t need those heavy social sharing plugins after all.

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