Using AddThis to Aid Content Marketing Initiatives

After seeing my post on The Lost Art of Social Sharing Buttons, AddThis contacted me via Twitter to offer me the chance to preview a 14-day trial their new Pro tools.

 Normally, I don’t do tool reviews but they have some neat features that are too good not to share.

What’s New

First of all, you may have seen AddThis around quite a bit and might not have known it. It’s usually in the form of an orange “+” or “Share” button next to other social sharing icons which allows you to expand more social sharing options.
With new button features and a personalized content recommendation engine, sharing buttons are still key players for AddThis.  First, let’s start with the new button features. 

Mobile Sharing
Meeting the growing mobile traffic demands, AddThis created device specific mobile sharing toolbars that stand out more and make mobile sharing easier.

 In addition to the toolbar, they have responsive sharing buttons that adjust for mobile users.

Social Proof
Call it the “wisdom of the crowds” but sometimes people just want to share because others are as well. I wrote about how to use social proof to your advantage for content promotion a while ago and AddThis can certainly aid that with new share counts integrated into a floating sidebar widget. When users can see others have shared the content, they’ll be more likely to. However, make sure you’re getting good share counts before using this or it could backfire.

The Pro-version of analytics gives you a 72-hour view of your activity which gives a good snapshot of recent activity. Other tools may only show the past day which doesn’t tell the whole story. Additionally, real-time analytics mixed with email alerts make it handy to detect spikes in activity.

Content Recommendations

In my opinion, the neatest part of AddThis’s new features are the content engines that recommend content based on your preferences and activity. There are several ways you can recommend content on your site:

 And this is an example of how it looks once integrated:

 In a case study, one site claims that the content recommendation increased their pageviews by nearly a third. It also claims the mobile sharing toolbar increased sharing 140%. I’ll have to do some testing to see what increases I see.

While AddThis has free tools, their Pro tools come at a price.. It costs $12 a month for 5 domains then an additional $2 a month for every domain added thereafter. If you’re seeing large lifts, like in the above case study, and can use it on a few domains, then it’s worth it. For my personal SEO blog, probably not.
What I don’t know (yet) is how AddThis specifically impacts a site’s load time. I’m always skeptical about adding things until I fully understand them, but their script executions seem straightforward and lite which is likely well worth the tradeoff of a pageview-boosting content recommendation engine and mobile-friendly social share buttons. Ultimately, hard coding social buttons is something to consider for speed optimization as an alternative.

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