I ran an experiment to figure out the maximum rate I could obtain social share button clicks. During my best month, only 0.0224% (1 in 4,464) of my users clicked the button.
Many blogging gurus will tell you how beneficial social share buttons can be for your site. Theoretically, if 1% of your users share your post and 100 of their friends click-through, you will get infinite traffic.
The problem is that theory doesn’t match the reality. In 2021, virtually all users are ad-blind to social share buttons. They probably wouldn’t use your button even if they wanted to share your post on social media!
Case Study: Testing Social Share Buttons
I gave my social buttons a prominent placement on my blog and tracked how many clicks they got for several months. I was trying to determine the maximum click-through-rate I could obtain.
December of 2020 is when I got the best results. I achieved this by placing my social share buttons in a sticky footer that was always visible (I’ve since moved these buttons to the bottom of the blog post). At the time, the social share buttons were sticky and looked like this.
We can argue over if there’s a more clickable aesthetic I could have used. But, I feel the buttons were prominently displayed (and better placed than what I see on 90% of other blogs). So let’s get right into the results; how many people clicked my buttons?
Again, I tested this with several different designs and for several months. December 2020 is when I got my best results, and even then, only 0.0224% (1 in 4,464) of my users clicked.
Since then, I’ve moved the social share buttons to the bottom of my blog posts, and the rate has decreased even further. In the last 90 days, my blog has gotten 49,688 pageviews, and my social share buttons have only been clicked twice! A rate of 0.004%! 1 in 24,844 users!
Nobody clicks social share buttons!
Should You Use Social Share Buttons on Your Blog?
After seeing these results, you have to wonder if social share buttons are worth having on your website. When only 0.0224% (1 in 4,464) users click these buttons (even when prominently displayed), does it make sense to continue using them?
I obviously chose to give these buttons a significantly less prominent position on this blog rather than delete them. I did that because they won’t really annoy the user where they’re located. I believe they have an aesthetic that helps my blog look like a trustworthy source (branding is important).
That said, I think if you’re doing any of the following, you need to stop immediately.
- Paying somebody for a social share plugin.
- Positioning the buttons in a spot that might annoy your users.
- Expecting any type of serious ROI from social share buttons. These buttons are a joke!