Most effective location for social media "share" icons?

20 Apr 2011 - 8:01am
2 years ago
11 replies
4557 reads
Don Habas
2008

From your experience, where is the best place on a page for social media icons?  Beginning of article?  End of article?  Right rail?   Depends on...?    My guess would be near the title.

Comments

20 Apr 2011 - 8:32am
1sixty
2010

On blog posts/whitepapers, I've had a lot of success putting them on the same horizon as the document title, but flush-right.  This is also where I encourage clients to put a "Download as PDF" icon.  I also put social icons in the footer of every page for good measure either as a stand-alone call-out, or in a larger "Contact Us" column depending on the size of the footer.

20 Apr 2011 - 1:29pm
gray
2010
I haven't seen any specific analytics from tests, but my preference is at the end of the article - it seems natural to want to share after reading the article. Interested to see if anyone has tried some A/B on this?
27 May 2011 - 2:55pm
willdonovan
2009

What needs to be acknowledged is there are 2 scenarios here:

1) As Gray said, "at the end of the article", however if this is if someone wants to action the article itself for the purpose of sharing. At the end is ok, however I find if there are a tonne of comments, the end of the article is difficult to find as it is far from the 'end of the page' in the browser. If the opening of the article is good, I want to share it and Instapaper it for later, so the top of the article works for me.

2) What about the social profile links / icons? aka 'follow us to stay up to date' / 'sign up to our newsletter', where should these go? Sidebar? Top / header? Halfway or closer towards the bottom?

With the second one, in my opinion there are multiple options that should be used in context of the page and the page's role or action scenario. For example if it is the home page, the bottom may not cut it and you may not have a sidebar and if the 2 sets of icons are too close to each other they will be confusion.

William Donovan
t, fb, in, b: @willdonovan
http://www.willdonovan.com.au/

Projects:
KiN : http://flavors.me/kin



On 21 April 2011 05:45, gray <grahammorley@me.com> wrote:

I haven't seen any specific analytics from tests, but my preference is at the end of the article - it seems natural to want to share after reading the article.

Interested to see if anyone has tried some A/B on this?

27 May 2011 - 2:55pm
Natalia Rey
2010

I prefer to see it near the title.Sometimes users don't read the whole article but they immediately want to share it because of the title.
Basically because users do scan the article, not read it completely. And it is very easy to find it underneath the title.
A couple of weeks ago we were very surprised about an article in F1, in all websites the article was with wrong title about a pilot, and we didn't read all the articles, but we 've shared all of them trying to guess who was the first article with wrong title. It was more efficient to us to share them when the link to do it was near the title.


2011/4/20 gray <grahammorley@me.com>

I haven't seen any specific analytics from tests, but my preference is at the end of the article - it seems natural to want to share after reading the article.

Interested to see if anyone has tried some A/B on this?

22 Apr 2011 - 10:57am
Neicole Crepeau
2009

I recommend at the top, definitely, and preferably at the bottom, as well. At first, I thought the bottom would be better for the same reasons Gray stated. But I found I got more clicks when the icons were at the top. Also, not everyone will actually read the content, but that doesn't mean they won't share it. (Whether they should or not is another matter.) And, I think when people want to share something, they really do want to share it and have no problem scrolling back up to the top. Also, the buttons are more visible at the top where they are usually above the fold. At the bottom, they may be missed. If I had to choose only one location, I'd choose the top.

23 Apr 2011 - 9:51am
GregGiersch
2011

Great UX observation Neicole:

"I found I got more clicks when the icons were at the top. Not everyone will actually read the content, but that doesn't mean they won't share it."

3 May 2011 - 10:33am
Graham Sear
2010

Does anyone have any empirical research on this? Other discussions on this topic online draw the same conclusions but some stats etc would help.

http://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/3462/social-share-buttons-best-position/3466

Cheers

G

27 May 2011 - 2:57pm
Kevin Fox
2005

I would also like to see (or possibly run) some empirical research on this, though I'm fairly confident the result would be greatly affected by how much visual clutter you otherwise have at the top of the page, and what other paraphernalia you have at the bottom (comments, footer links, other calls to action).


-Kevin


On Tue, May 3, 2011 at 10:03 AM, Graham Sear <graham.sear@gmail.com> wrote:

Does anyone have any empirical research on this? Other discussions on this topic online draw the same conclusions but some stats etc would help.

http://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/3462/social-share-buttons-best-position/3466

Cheers

G

27 May 2011 - 2:57pm
Moses Wolfenstein
2010

I was just remarking to a colleague earlier today how the solution they use over at CIO Magazine on their articles is particularly nice. It's the first time I've seen "share" icons that track with you as you scroll. See, for example, this article about Quora:
http://www.cio.com/article/680328/Quora_the_Next_Social_Network_IT_Pros_Need_to_Know_?source=CIONLE_nlt_leader_2011-04-28
Obviously this requires a little  more under the hood than just placement, and I have no idea if it actually pays off.

-Moses

On Tue, May 3, 2011 at 12:21 PM, Graham Sear <graham.sear@gmail.com> wrote:

Does anyone have any empirical research on this? Other discussions on this topic online draw the same conclusions but some stats etc would help.

http://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/3462/social-share-buttons-best-position/3466

Cheers

G

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27 May 2011 - 2:55pm
cfmdesigns
2004

Put them where you expect people to be when they want to use the feature. I think that would usually be at article-end, but maybe your research says people share before reading or return to top before sharing (to review the title, I guess?).

So maybe appropriate in multiple locales?

9 Mar 2012 - 3:28pm
Matthew Goebel
2008

Funny I should find my self here, late to the party and searching for info on best tactics for social sharing and then find one of our own sites cited!

Thank you, Moses.

If anyone does come up with any solid research, would still love to see it but in response to Moses' post - that tactic on CIO works pretty well.  (we use similar tactics at our other sites, like http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9224801/)

The rationale for implementing what we call a "sidecar" was:

- Users might want to share at any point in the read and so, let's afford them tools that are available when the mood strikes

- We went with "counter buttons" because we felt there is a subtle marketing effect. "Ohhh, lots of shares...must be good". 

- The "under the hood" stuff isnt' that hard, but with more traffic coming from tablets and mobile, the tactic needs to be thought out for those devices - particularly when done outside the article body. We are revisiting our sharing on those merits, which brings me here today.

In general, this approach has served the audience and our page views well. Some things we learned:

- We have tried moving the buttons around, we don't see strong coorelations between button positions and user engagement with the buttons, but this is certainly very clean and no worse than any other placement.

- We know that while we have tried Facebook Like button in the sidecar and above the story, organic shares - you drop a link into Facebook directly - still outpace use of the button.

- We initially aligned the buttons with Social Networks we thought our audineces perferred. We still get very strong SM engagment with with networks for which we do not have buttons, so its not ALL about the buttons.

- Different Social audiences enage differently. We ended up preferring some buttons because the users who come from them spend more time on the site, bring more informed perspectives and are closer to our target audience.

- These buttons add a lot of page-weight and can hurt SEO and UX via long load times.

One last observation. My personal, unscientific conclusion is that there is a strong emotional component to sharing.

If you are a sharer,  what you share reflects on you and you'll share PRIMARILY based on your desire to do so. An affordance on the page like a button may make it easier or tip you toward action if you are on the fence, but in the end -- its mostly about how users judge the quality or interest of the content.

 

m

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