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Mobile ads prove more click-worthy than social sharing buttons: report

Consumers on mobile are 11.5 times more likely to click on an advertisement than a social sharing button, proving that brands cannot rely on users to spread branded posts on social media unless there is a direct call-to-action, according to a report from Moovweb.

The research suggests that while social media usage on mobile is significantly high, users tap sharing buttons approximately 33 percent less often that they do on desktop. Therefore, brands seeking to raise awareness of their products or services via social share buttons must offer a strong call-to-action to convince consumers to disperse their posts, such as a sweepstakes entry or incentive.

?We analyzed over 61 million mobile sessions and found that only 0.2 percent of mobile users do any social sharing,? said Haresh Kumar, vice president of marketing at Moovweb, San Francisco. ?Social sharing has evolved, specifically as it pertains to shopping priorities.

?People aren?t using the social sharing buttons on mobile sites,? he said. ?This has deep marketing implications, since mobile device traffic is, on average, over 60 percent.

?One of the top reasons for lack of usage of social sharing buttons: users must be logged in to share on a mobile phone.?

Luring in usage
Moovweb discovered that a meager 0.2 percent of mobile users ever feel compelled to tap on a social sharing button to disperse branded content among family and friends. 

Brands that are active on social media often times ask consumers to repost images or material using a designated hashtag, but the lack of an incentive cannot guarantee anything.

Individuals are also 11.5 times more likely to click on an advertisement than a sharing button, which suggests that marketers should spend more effort and budgets on mobile ads than social media posts.

However, marketers aiming to distribute sharable posts anyway must determine the best communication channel to leverage for their branded materials. 

Moovweb?s research displayed that Facebook had the highest social sharing button engagement out of all social platforms, followed closely by Pinterest.

Mobile users are three times more likely to share posts on Facebook than on Twitter. This may be attributed to the fact that Facebook, as well as Pinterest, typically maintains photo-heavy content that may catch consumers? eyes more readily.

If a brand asks its followers to share a branded Tweet, the 140-character piece can easily get lost among users? busy feeds.

Most importantly, marketers should keep in mind that social media is best used when consumers are discovering a new product or service, not when they want to brag about a new purchase.

?Essentially, mobile users were 11.5 times more likely to tap on an ad than they were to tap on a social sharing button,? Mr. Kumar said. ?Increasingly, consumers want to shop on mobile devices, but they are not ready to share their purchases with their networks.

?Social is likely the channel of influence during discovery and preference phase," he said. "Social is not top of mind when a consumer is in the moment and making a purchase.?

Combating the issue
One top way to combat this issue and drive more social shares, particularly ones made after purchases, is to streamline the log-in process.

Often times, users who are not already logged in to their Facebook or Twitter accounts and who want to share a post, will then be prompted to input their password and email to continue the process. Time-strapped consumers on mobile may find this a huge turn-off, and subsequently become deterred from attempting to share a post again.

Furthermore, those who have lost or forgotten their passwords may not want to go through the experience of retrieving it by setting up a new one.

The one-click process of tapping on a mobile advertisement does not require any sign-ins, and lends an explanation as to why consumers are 11.5 times more likely to click on an ad than a sharing button.

However, if users are tempted with an incentive, such as a discount on a future purchase or an entry into a sweepstakes, they may be more enticed to endure the log-in experience.

?You might have social sharing buttons for several social platforms on desktop, but on mobile it might make sense to limit to a few,? Mr. Kumar said. ?We found the top platforms overall, across the 61 million mobile sessions we studied, were Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

?Also worth noting is that in the case of social sharing, users have to log in first,? he said. ?And this presents a bigger barrier on mobile than on desktop, as users have to thumb in their username and password.

?As a marketer, if you are considering using social buttons, use lightweight implementations with minimal noise and clutter.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York