When I wrote earlier that bookmarking chicklets are useless, I meant it. I mentioned there is no way of knowing which buttons are more effective and which aren’t, we don’t know the most optimised order in which these work best, we don’t even know which designs work best.
My interest was piqued when ShareThis posted a social bookmarking study on its blog which explores the social engagement value of sharing and I have mentioned my thoughts below.
The ShareThis study breaks down the stages of interaction into share, clicks, and engage.
From the graphic above, you can see that email is still the most popular way to share content on the internet.
Its interesting to see that while most people will share content via email, a lot of the recipients dont respond by clicking on the article link in the email. On the other hand, those on other social networks like Twitter and Facebook have come to accept links and readily click on them.
What Twitter and Facebook Users Are More Likely to Click
According to a user sample released earlier this year by Chitika, Twitter users most frequently clicked links directing to information about current events and news.
- Current events and news: 28.49% of referrals
- Movie-related sites: 22.56%
- Technology sites followed with 13.39%
- Medical sites: 7.98%
- Video games: 4.64%
- Celebrity: 3.94%
- How-to: 2.88%
Facebook users, however, click differently:
- Technology sites: 30%
- Lifestyle: 18.29%
- News: 18.25%
- How-to: 4.55%
- Movies: 2.96%
- Medical: 2.62%
The ShareThis study also found that visitors to your website from Twitter are the least engaging and visit an average of 1.66 pages per visit. In contrast to this, when you have managed to gain a visitor via email, they are likely to visit 2.95 pages per visit.
In all of this data, one thing that stands out is the performance of other social networks apart from the big three – twitter, facebook and email – and to put it bluntly, its abysmal. If you fancy bookmarklets, its best to keep them to a bare minimum with email, facebook and twitter.
The way forward for the Social Bookmarking industry would be to provide analytics for shared articles via every active button. Apart from that, it would also help to see which layout of buttons works best. The icing on the cake however would be to see all this data integrated with Google Analytics.