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The ecommerce retailer I work for is national market leader in its respective branche and even in some other surrounding countries. It's SEO is amazing and they already have an established position within Google only having Wikipedia above them with generic search terms. They're very active on social media and produce a fair amount revenue from that. Therefor one can argue the use of social media plugins they still have on their site. That they've become unnecessary.

They have the facebook plugin showing people how many people liked their FB page and if you're automatically logged in to your facebook account it shows how many of your friends like the page. They also have a Twitter feed showing all their tweets.

In my opinion it has no place on the front page anymore. The front page is cluttered and I want to cut away a lot of elements. But I got to have solid arguments for doing so, because some other people from certain departments will hate to see it go, because maintaining the social feed is a big part of their daily activities.

Right now I can only come up with arguments concerning the aesthetic value.

  • It tacky
  • It's an eye sore
  • It's not 2014 (not even 2013!)

The argument of it being unnecessary at this point in time won't stick because it has no visible negative effect. Their positive effects however have satiated, no new leads are being created because of the social plugins on the front page. At least, no where near what it used to be. Only the possibility of it creating more leads is keeping it afloat.

So I'm in search of negative influences these social plugins might have on the user experience, conversion rate or some other value.

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Worth reading: ia.net/blog/sweep-the-sleaze –  cimmanon Jan 10 at 16:09

3 Answers 3

  • If plugin breaks (temporary outage, deprecation, whatever) it is your site whose reputation is damaged, not FB's
  • Extra resources to load => slower site
  • Prominence of other brands dilutes your own
  • if you were to write a list of stack-ranked goals for each page of your site I doubt that "send people to our Twitter" would make the cut, yet I assume its prominence on your site indicates otherwise. Any pixels used for social are pixels not used for revenue-generating activities. It would be reasonable to actually quantify the % of visual space given to these and see how it compared with, say, the size of a Checkout button.

To anyone supporting the plugins I would ask them to empirically define goals. It's unlikely that they'll be able to weave a story that begins at those buttons and ends in a transaction. Bottom line bottom line bottom line.

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Loadtime, ofcourse. The FB plugin alone take 400ms to load. A big ass banner we have takes 40ms. Your other points I haven't thought of and I will surely include those. Let's keep the question open for more suggestions. –  Paul Jan 10 at 14:28
    
+1 for "ask them to empirically define goals... transaction". Well said. –  LindaBrammer Jan 10 at 15:20

You said in your question,

some other people from certain departments will hate to see it go, because maintaining the social feed is a big part of their daily activities.

That tells me this is politically charged so you will need to listen to their concerns while countering with your need for justification of everything that makes it to the home page. If you opt to include social in a mega-footer, you will be able to minimize the visual impact of these elements. Or, create a social dashboard and link to it off the home page, in effect giving social more space but taking the content off the home page. That will further justify the social team's existence without alienating them. If your home page is approaching "horror vacui", it's time to have this conversation.

As far as negative influences, how about looking dated? My kids (in their 20s, all), have largely abandoned Facebook and have embraced Tumblr mostly because their parents aren't on it. ;-). In six months, a prominent FB logo may well say "This site is for old people".

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The matter will certainly will be discussed with the social media people who are concerned with this too. I was already thinking about social icons linking to the respective social enviroments. Is that what you meant by including social in a (mega-)footer? –  Paul Jan 10 at 15:30
    
Yes, small versions of the icons in a mega-footer was my thought. –  LindaBrammer Jan 10 at 15:33

"no new leads are being created because of the social plugins on the front page"

"I'm in search of negative influences these social plugins might have on... conversion rate"

As this topic is potentially politically charged and you are dealing with a larger company (presumably with a marketing team) your argument should include numbers. What analytics have you done to prove no new leads are being generated from the social plugins? I would track the number of users that actually click on the social media button. Gather statistics and show charts (with numbers) to support your hypothesis. A quick look at Google Trends does not support your argument. What is your target age demographic? What is your actual age demographic (w/ evidence from Google Analytics). If you are targeting a younger audience prove that Facebook is being abandoned by youth statistically. You do have an argument that additional page load time lowers SEO. Most of these social plugins rely on iframes from third party sites, meaning social plugins equals more HTTP requests (a big bottleneck in page load speed). Most importantly prove the buttons are no longer being used. You're dealing with a marketing team, so your intuition as a designer will not cut it. You need to back up your reasoning with statistics and graphical analysis.

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