Screen shot 2014-06-11 at 3.16.54 PM

Over the last two weeks we’ve been experimenting with the design and placement of the social sharing buttons on Hubs. Using a tool called Optimizely, we ran split test experiments on several variations of the buttons, with the goal of maximizing the rate of social shares. We’ve finally settled on our winner and the new buttons are already live on all Hubs!

As you might expect, there are countless things that can be tested— colors, shapes, sizes, logos, and more. We really liked the simple, sleek social logos, so we decided to start there and focus our testing efforts on the following:


  • Below the Hub title
  • Below the Hub content
  • Above the Hub Praise bar
  • Sidebar (original placement)


  • Monochrome (black and white)
  • Colors (white foreground logo on a colored background)
  • Grey with colors becoming visible on mouse hover


  • Circles
  • Squares


  • Buttons with counts
  • Buttons without counts

So, what did we learn after two weeks of design testing? Here are the highlights:

  • The sidebar placement converted twice as well as the other placements we tested. It was a clear winner.
  • Colored buttons were clicked on 20% more often than the monochrome buttons, and marginally more than the on-hover color buttons.
  • The square-shaped buttons performed slightly better than the circle-shaped buttons.
  • Displaying share counts did not have a statistically significant impact on the rate of shares. Buttons with counts were clicked on at roughly the same rate as buttons without counts.

For now, the square-shaped, colored buttons will live in the sidebar, but we intend to use the data collected on their performance in different locations to inform more significant future design changes. Stay tuned!

Lastly, and as previously mentioned by Christy, our primary reason for switching to static social buttons was to improve the load time on Hubs. Static buttons load much quicker because they don’t need to make a Javascript call to each source to retrieve the share count. Based on our observations, the new buttons perform 24% faster on the first fully-loaded view and 38% faster on repeat fully-loaded views, so it looks like they’re here to stay.


Posted by:Marina Lazarevic

12 replies on “The Winning Social Buttons Are Live!

  1. These social buttons are more fancy and having a great look. And of course, a good looking share button always encourages users to share content.
    It’s good to have such unique and nice share buttons on HubPages.

  2. I like the new design very much and also enjoyed using Like Explorer to see how often my Hubs had been shared on different sites. Pintrest is a clear winner for me.

  3. Good thing I read the newsletter that comes via my eMail. The buttons are fantastic. I tried the black and white one first. I didn’t know what it was really for. (O.o) It worked quite well. Kudos to HP management and staff! 🙂

  4. I have to post something for my business communications class on social networking and I ran across this site. We have been talking about how to make words, phrases, icons, etc stand out. I really like the bright colors and sharp lines. Good job at trying so many different variables.

Leave a Reply to Treathyl Fox Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s