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Does having only one sharing button lead to content being shared more?

  • Many buttons makes harder choice for user and make some distraction.
  • With one social button, the user might not be prefer this social network.
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    Are you really only concerned about the amount of buttons? The more relevant questions are which services to provide, what the buttons should do, look like and where to place them. That will answer your current question, but it all depends on the context and the audience. Giving more insight on that will increase the chance to get a usefull answer. – jazZRo Jun 24 '15 at 7:26
  • For instance, I've selected best place for sharing buttons and selected 5 services. In equal conditions if I place only one, two or three buttons same time which will be better in common case? – Dmitry Yaremenko Jun 24 '15 at 8:08
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    Do you have research that shows which social networks your target users prefer? We are about to launch a new webapp, and we had very good data from our web stats that there were two social networks (in addition to Facebook and Twitter) that dominated our referral traffic. So we landed on 4 sharing buttons. – mhick Jun 24 '15 at 12:08
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    Maybe presenting share buttons conditionally could be a possibility? Facebook seems to support it but other services might not have an API developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/javascript/… – MonkeyZeus Jun 24 '15 at 13:48
  • @MonkeyZeus Checking if user is logged in or other conditions seems a good idea. Could we use also that user opened browser on mobile or desktop? Example: in some regions Whatsapp installed in more smartphones than Facebook (just random guess) – Dmitry Yaremenko Jun 24 '15 at 17:15
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The number of social share buttons that has the highest conversion rate depends on a number of factors, and so no single number answer can reasonably be given.

The general rule from my own experience is that it's best to keep it down to as few as possible. Often even just having a single option outperforms 3 or 5 options, but it depends on your site and your target audience.

That said, you should be looking at more than just the number of shares, but rather the quality and reach of those shares. For example, if I have a website targeting professional developers, then Facebook shares may not be nearly as important as Twitter shares. Also, generic shares tend to perform worse than shares with notes written by the person doing the sharing.

TL;DR: Try to keep the number as low as is reasonable, but there is no magic number to answer your question.

  • I've read research, that increasing from 3 to 5 social sharing buttons decreases overall sharing by 29% (link). Could we say that with only one option we would have more total shares? – Dmitry Yaremenko Jun 25 '15 at 9:32
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    @DmitryYaremenko You can't apply numbers from one site to another different site. You may find that you have more overall with only a single share option, but that depends on a number of factors. Some sites may have the best results with 5 options. There isn't a simple answer to this that will apply to (or even a majority) of sites. – JohnGB Jun 25 '15 at 12:02
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It depends a lot on what type of content it is, and what type of user/reader you are showing the content to.

  • Twitter (good for general sharing, especially if a "hot topic" of the moment (e.g. "Las Vegas hit by mega blizzard - over 7 feet of snow!"))
  • Facebook (good for general sharing of anything that isn't highly tech relateed (e.g. "Intel's new nano flux capacitors now use 7% less titanium" likely isn't the kind of thing Grandma cares about))
  • Google+ (good for general sharing)
  • LinkedIn (good for sharing work/business related articles (e.g Microsoft & Bombardier to unveil self driving Helicopters for emerging markets))
  • Reddit, 9Gag, StumbleUpon, Digg, Slashdot... all good options for humor, neat stuff and interesting content... but unless the submitter has a lot of reputation these tend not to be used very often.

I'd personally argue that having the top 3 (Twitter, Facebook, Google+) is often enough, anyone interested in posting to others will take the 3 seconds to copy/paste the url/details to the other social app to submit.

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    I agree with the "having the top 3 is enough", unless content is picture heavy then include Pinterest or Instagram. – DasBeasto Jun 24 '15 at 14:48
  • What about just one option? In one article tell that increasing from 3 to 5 social sharing buttons decreases sharing by 29%. Can we say that with only one option we would have more shares? – Dmitry Yaremenko Jun 24 '15 at 17:20

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