The science/art of landing page optimization for maximizing conversion rates has long been understood. In fact, through testing, many industry insiders have been able to publish best practices to include do’s and don’ts; so much so that many of these best practices are considered conventional wisdom today.
Social Proof vs. Conventional Wisdom
However, the mass adoption of social media sharing buttons is relatively new. Some marketers include them on landing pages while others do not. Conventional wisdom says that you shouldn’t include them because the only thing you want a landing page visitor to be able to do is fill out a form.
Others might argue that having social proof (lots of likes, tweets, shares, plus ones, etc.) on a landing page might increase the likelihood of a conversion. Not to mention, shares increase the visibility of the landing page. However, in the same vein, social sharing buttons on new landing pages with few likes, tweets, etc. might hinder conversion rates for lacking sufficient social proof.
In the spirit of testing, we here at Kuno wanted to know whether social media sharing buttons help or hurt landing page conversion rates. Below includes one finished test and some preliminary findings from incomplete tests.
The First Test – Link Building Landing Page
This test was constructed long after the original landing page was launched. Therefore, from the first day the variation with the social media sharing buttons already showed lots of likes, tweets, etc. It’s safe to say the social media sharing variation for this test began with adequate social proof. The only difference between variation A and B is the inclusion of social media sharing buttons or lack-there-of.
Recommended for YouWebcast: Your Viral Voice: How to Create Conversations that Convert to Sales
So far, with 110 conversions in the test, the variation without the social sharing buttons is converting 18% better than the variation with the social sharing buttons. This seems to bolster the conventional wisdom that marketers should only allow visitors to fill out a form on a landing page. As it stands now, there are not enough conversions to be 99% confident in the results. However, when the test is complete, the final results will be made available.
The Second Test – Content Marketing Landing Page
This test began upon the initial launch of the landing page. With zero shares there was not sufficient social proof in the beginning of this test. The data is presented pre and post adaquate social proof. Social proof was determined by whether or not the buttons had 10 or more tweets, likes, shares, etc. The only difference between the two variations is the social media sharing buttons.
Inadequate Social Proof
With only 67 conversions in the inadequate social proof test, the results cannot be considered statistically significant. However, they do provide a hint as to whether or not social proof helps conversions. Within two days the social media sharing buttons all registered more than 10 shares on the variation with the share buttons.
The variation without the buttons converted two percent better than the variation with the social sharing buttons. While not statistically significant, it does insinuate that not having social media sharing buttons might be better than having them with little or no social proof.
Adequate Social Proof
This is the only test of the three that is statistically significant with 90% confidence. With more than 500 conversions, the variation with social sharing buttons and adequate social proof converted 9 percent better than the version with no social media sharing buttons.
Because the link building landing page test is incomplete and the inadequate social proof test is not statistically significant, the only confident conclusion to be made is that social sharing buttons with adequate social proof can help a landing page convert at a higher rate. However, the link building landing page test is hinting the opposite may be true in some instances. Until the test is complete we can’t be sure.
Also, the inadequate social proof test insinuates that not having social sharing buttons on landing pages is better than having them with very few likes, tweets, etc. Obviously, more testing is required, but for now I’m sticking with social sharing buttons on landing pages and recommend that marketers conduct their own tests to gauge their audiences’ palates for social media sharing buttons.
Image: Todd Barnard
Join Jim Kukral, Laura “Pistachio” Fitton, and Jay Baer as they share invaluable insight on using social media for marketing, how to create real business value and what to measure.