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content sharingConventional wisdom tells us all that the more options a customer has, the better they can choose a service or product that suits their needs, and that’s a rational position. Unfortunately, the statistics can sometimes show us that customer behavior is not always rational.

Columbia University recently did a study and found out that too many options can actually lead to less action. In their study, they used jam, which was being sold at a local grocer.

The test was between offering a sample of 8 different kinds of jam from a particular brand and offering 24 different kinds of jam from that same brand. The results were quite telling.

Of those who tried a sample when 24 different options were offered, about three percent would then go on to buy one of the jams. When only 8 different options were offered, that number jumped to thirty percent.

For your digital marketing, this can be aptly applied to social sharing of your content as well. If you want people to share your content, it’s best to give them a limited number of ways to do so. The optimum number can be found through testing, but the idea is that you’ll likely get more shares from fewer options than from making choosing difficult by offering every possible sharing option.

Here’s an example of a page that takes this to an extreme:

sharing options for customers

With so many options, it is fairly likely that a person will opt to refrain from sharing altogether. While the page has likely ordered them in accordance with which social platforms are used most frequently to share, the plethora of options is daunting, and it will likely drive away people who might otherwise spread your content.

On the other hand, something like this would probably fair far better in attracting its viewers to spread the same content on their social platforms:

content sharing

The exact number of sharing options that maximizes social engagement may vary from one brand to the next. This is something that you will need to test. However, to borrow a line from a 1995 film: “More isn’t always better. Sometimes it’s just more.”

Keep this in mind when building your content sharing strategy, because while your customers and fans may not realize it, the last thing they might want is more options.

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Beth is our VP of Digital Marketing Strategy who, besides drinking a ridiculous amount of coffee, helps clients generate more business. Whether they’ve partnered with Proximity Marketing for a decade or just joined the family, Beth helps clients achieve success and achieve measurable results.

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