27/11/2014 10:37 GMT | Updated 27/01/2015 05:59 GMT

Six Ways to Help Get Your Stories Shared On Mobile

Earlier this week, BuzzFeed released a report looking at media and technology trends during 2014, based on what they've noticed from their own extensive data analysis. One point that really caught my attention was this section on mobile.

Earlier this week, BuzzFeed released a report looking at media and technology trends during 2014, based on what they've noticed from their own extensive data analysis.

One point that really caught my attention was this section on mobile:


Previously, we've heard that publishers' shift from desktop to mobile is as big as the shift from print to desktop was. Some of the most successful social publishers in NewsWhip's monthly social rankings have strong mobile strategies, and undoubtedly see huge traffic from mobile devices. The trending stories getting huge shares in our pro content discovery platform, Spike, are usually similarly mobile-friendly.

As we advised in our two-part guide to getting your content shared more earlier this year, ignoring sharing on mobile is not going to help your social strategy in any way.

Here are our tips on getting it right, with some examples below.

1) Make sure your pages load fast as possible

New sites have some of the slowest-loading pages on the web. That's not good news for readers that navigate from Twitter or Facebook, to site, and and try and actually share the story on mobile. Mobile browsing is frequently where readers browse while waiting on the bus, or queueing at the supermarket. As Instagram co-founder Mike Krieger put it: "No one wants to wait while they wait."

2) Remind people to download your app

By reminding new readers to download your app, you're earning space on their phone, which is a very intimate and valuable piece of media real estate. There are numerous approaches to nudging new visitors to downloading the app, from full-page takeovers, to subtle reminders.

BuzzFeed does this well in their browser:


It's also possible to direct readers to download your app straight from Twitter and Facebook:


3) Write and produce with a mobile audience in mind

Be succinct.

According to News Design analyst Mario Garcia, good mobile copy should be "It should be short enough to get us interested in content, but not so short that we will not get the highlights of the story".

4) Don't ignore 'dark social', including messaging apps

Many publishers will know by now that some of the biggest sources of dark social traffic come from messaging apps, such as Line, Viber, WeChat, WhatsApp and more.

Users of messaging apps like WhatsApp can share a link to a group of friends privately. Don't forget these apps when deciding which buttons to give more prominence to.

Some publishers, including the BBC, are now pushing content directly to messaging apps. It's a time-consuming process, but one which the messaging apps themselves are likely to make easier for publishers in the future. Watch this space.

5) Pick your share buttons carefully

Readers of a Forbes article on how to be a better manager of time might be more receptive to seeing a LinkedIn share option. Anyone looking for Christmas cookie recipes might be more inclined to Pin on Pinterest. It might seem obvious, but optimising share button space on a small screen is important. The answer lies in studying your own analytics.

Some sites, like the Atlantic and the New York Times, opt for a floating header, which stays unobtrusively with the reader as they scroll:


Share 'ribbons' definitely seem to be a popular option for many sites. These are functional, colour-coded strips at the top and bottom of each story, providing plenty of surface area to tap with a finger. Here's an example from the Huffington Post:


6) Give readers different sharing options


Giving readers more options in sharing is something that led the likes of the Financial Times and the Guardian to try out tweeting highlighted passages of text. That's not as practical on mobile, so making gifs, images and videos separately shareable is a good idea, as seen in the above BuzzFeed example.

Different 'sharelines' for readers to choose help pull out 'social ledes' from the main body of text, as seen in this example from the LA Times:


To sum here, here are NewsWhip's tips for getting shared on mobile:


If you have any thoughts on how to get more shares via mobile, we'd love to hear from you. Let us know in the comments below, or tweet NewsWhip.