AddThis vs. ShareThis has been a popular debate for the last couple of years when it deciding what plug-in to go with in regards to the ease of sharing content. Many business owners, web developers, SEO-experts, and content managers have discussed and argued over which program triumphs over the other, and it seems that by summer of 2012, it had been decided: AddThis is the superior content sharing plug-in. To date, AddThis is still considered the better plug-in, as evidenced through Google Trending Analytics:
As you can see, the blue line represents AddThis, and the red line represents ShareThis as searched and reported on over the last year since August 1, 2012.
The Pros and Cons of Each:
While both programs have been talked about and argued over since their inception, it is quite obvious where the winner has been decided. It variably came down to factors such as ease of access to the code, image and drop-down design, and user-friendly functionality. Both AddThis and ShareThis are known for having generally aesthetically pleasing designs, though AddThis seems to be favored overall for having easier to use and more appealing buttons, widgets, and integration. AddThis utilizes the generic plus symbol (+) next to well known icons of sharing services that most people would recognize (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc) while ShareThis opted to customize their own symbol and not present any other symbols along with this. When their buttons are hovered over however they both hold equal status in displaying easy to identify mediums through which to share the information:
AddThis is shown on the left, while ShareThis is on the right. Above the bookmark center you can see the buttons—AddThis displaying the orange plus symbol next to the text ‘share’ while ShareThis displays it’s green logo and the text ‘ShareThis’.
Of course the hover display is customizable for both of the programs, allowing you to add/delete what social media options you would like displayed for sharing your content, and change the order in which they are displayed. There are pretty big differences in coding, though they are both free to utilize by merely signing up for an account at either programs’ website–however, AddThis’ code is a bit easier and takes less time to acquire than ShareThis’ process—the utilization of the two are pretty different.
Above is what the AddThis code looks like before logging in.
Simply click on a picture of the social media programs you’d like to add to the widget and an image of what you’d like the layout to look like and the code is automatically generated for AddThis, whereas ShareThis requires you to take a little more time in selecting more specific and customizable options (which AddThis also offers in a more thorough selection process if desired) and a three-step process before generating it’s code. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though it does take much more time and effort than the AddThis widget.
Above is the 3 step process highlighted by ShareThis on their website.
Both sites allow the user to generate and access the code without creating an account or signing in, though if this is the option chosen, you don’t get the analytics side of their program so that you can track your shares. This is one are where ShareThis excels—ShareThis allows you to track all sharing through one created account for all social media outlets allowed on your widget immediately, while AddThis makes you go through a contact process and set up exactly what “package plan” you would like to activate for data analyses. ShareThis also does a very good job of explaining exactly how to read and navigate each aspect of their data analytics, while AddThis assumes expertise, or at least knowledge in the subject, and doesn’t go into great detail explaining to the user how to utilize all of the data—they expect you know it.
Where does Sociable fit in?
Since its later inception however, Sociable, a new plugin for social sharing created by WordPress, has been hitting the scene, and disrupting the rivalry between AddThis and ShareThis altogether. By August of 2012, Sociable was competing with AddThis exclusively for the number one spot, while ShareThis has been seemingly left behind:
Sociable is the yellow color being tracked in the image above, while AddThis is the blue and ShareThis is the red—Sociable and AddThis are being searched and written about much more frequently in the last year than ShareThis has.
The huge drawback with Sociable is that it is created and exclusively ran by WordPress, while AddThis and ShareThis are available as plugins for WordPress but can also be used on any web design—when tracking analytics it is wiser to stick with one social sharing service rather than split your sharing through two different sources; it is recommended using one service for all of your data analysis reporting.
Why and Where to Use Social Sharing Programs:
There are many great uses for social sharing programs on your website. For instance, an arts and craft website pay want to incorporate AddThis or ShareThis and allow their products to be pinned and shared through Pinterest; a swimming pool company may want to do the same and also allow their content to be spread through to Facebook and Google+, while still maintaining a presence on Pinterest. Ecommerce sites also have a great usage for social sharing plugins on their websites to share their products; the benefits of AddThis and ShareThis to internet marketing are too great to pass up.
Above is an example of a Pool Company’s blog utilizing the AddThis plugin to share their Design and Installation page on various social media webpages.
Go with the Program that’s Easiest to Use:
AddThis’ code also comes pre-packed with a default share bar without having to pick which specific social media outlets to choose: currently it features Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ as its four main default sharing outlets.
Because it is allowed on WordPress but is also multiplatform, easy to use, and very user friendly on both sides—set-up and sharing—AddThis has blown most of its competition out of the water since its creation. As it continues to garner more and more support and provide sharing services for millions of websites around the world, the AddThis developers continue to expand on what was originally loved about the program while working out all the kinks and drawbacks it contained with each update.