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Thank you to everyone for sharing our pages around over the last year!

AddThis are the folks we use to help visitors share our site around. They have sent us an infographic depicting our performance over the last year so I thought I would share it with you.

You can find the infographic at the bottom of this text dejectedly because it wouldn't fit at the top of the page.

As you can see at the start of the year we only had very basic sharing facilities, however in June we displayed the sharing bar more obviously and this gave us a massive improvement, causing the first peek on the graph. The largest peek on the graph is when we launched our new homepage.

Maybe the largest shock is how wide spread the sharing has been around the world.

Another thing to point out is that even though twitter is used to share more often than Facebook, posts shared on Facebook were far more likely to be clicked on.

Tuesday is a really odd day to have as our most popular day for sharing, most sites on the internet find that Friday is there most popular day. Entertainment websites tend to get more shares between Friday and Sunday, Online shops usually get more shares the closer you get to Friday. However our figures align more with a news website that would get shares equally throughout the week.

Our AddThis sharing results for 2011
Our AddThis sharing results for 2011.

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Social Sharing Changes 2011

AddThis are experts in how content is shared across the internet, they are the ones that host the share buttons on all of your product pages. They have posted some interesting statistics that they have gathered over the last year, so we thought we would share some of the highlights with you.

Facebook makes up 52.1% of all sharing on the web.

This is hardly surprising, Facebook have the numbers and make it so easy to share content to a captive audience. I wonder how long they can keep this up with all the competition that is out there.

Twitter makes up 13.5% of sharing and grows 576.9%

I'm shocked that sharing on Twitter has grown so much, I thought that twitter had reached its peak. I think this growth must be because they added an automatic ability to shorten links making it really easy to share websites.

Tumblr sharing grows by 1299.5% and is accelerating.

The interesting point about this figure is the fact that it is still increasing. Personal blogs have really changed from being something celebrities and companies have to a way individuals can share their thoughts and interesting things they find.

Address Bar sharing creates 1600% viral lift.

While this is a massive amount, it is a new service AddThis have added and have been really pushing over the last few months, so I don't think they can sustain this growth for next year.

StumbleUpon Creates a 320% viral lift.

While Stumble Upon doesn't generally work for online shops it is a great way to reach an open audience who are actively looking for interesting items to look at.

Google +1 grows 373% but has plateaued.

This will really disappoint Google, while they have been attracting a steady flow of users from Facebook, users still tend to share content from the comfort of Facebook.

E-mail, Print and Favourite make up 14.4% of sharing.

While Stumble doesn't work very well for shops E-mail, printing and favouriting work extremely well for us. Many customers will bookmark a product to purchase later or E-mail products to friends.

Digg sharing continues to decline by 47.7%

Digg works well for news articles however its format makes it less beneficial for products. Digg will really struggle to get back ground on the powerhouse that is Facebook, as users tend to share news articles on Facebook rather than dedicated news sites like Digg.

MySpace sharing continues to decline by 56.9%

This shocked me because I didn't think anyone still used MySpace. While they used to have a huge market share in the social world, they now only have the odd small band use them. It's design does not encourage sharing at heart so I only expect this figure to keep declining.

Sharing on mobile devices has grown 6 fold.

Browsing on mobile devices is so easy now and with the widespread use of tablets I expect this to keep on increasing until it matches desktop figures.

Find the full list of facts here.

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What is the most popular hour for users to browse websites?

I often get asked what time is most popular on the website (yeah I didn't think you would fall for that but it's a good conversation starter). So I thought I would overlay some of the thousands of shops we host onto one graph to see if we could make sense of it.

There are a few basic things to learn first if you don't already know them:

Pages:This is the number of pages that have been viewed by visitors browsing the website.
Files:This is the number of files that have been downloaded to the browser. This includes images, css files and JavaScript files in order to build the page. I have only kept this on because it's interesting how fewer files are downloaded as the day goes on. (1 page load may need 10 files)
Bandwidth: This is the amount of data that has been sent from our server. Just for some comparison a music file would normally be about 3MB or 4MB.

So here is the graph we will be talking about:

Number of hits an hour on GroovyCart
Number of hits an hour an average website gets.

Now I said that fewer files are downloaded as the day goes on, but as we can see from the graph that more pages are being viewed. What I mean by this is that relatively less files are being downloaded compared to pages as the day goes on. And I will explain why this is... Web browsers and servers are very good at doing a thing called caching. What this does is it saves files that are likely to be needed again in the future. So once a browser has downloaded a product image they would not need to download that same file again if they go back to the page because the file will have been temporarily saved on the computer.

Let's look at some of the interesting points on the graph then:

04:00 is the least busy hour, because of this we run our main backup at this time. Our main backup can be quite processor intensive so we like to run it when our service is at its quietest.

There is a small peek at about 11:00 or 12:00. This is because users are bored at work or have their lunch break and use that time browsing for products

There are more pages being viewed at 23:00 as there are at 19:00 and 20:00 even though the graph looks like it dips, we recon this is because customers may have been browsing for hours and many of the images, css files and JavaScript files have been downloaded so they don't need to be downloaded again.

And just for comparison I have also put here the same hits per hour that Wikipedia used to get, I know it's an old image but you can see the same trends that we get.

Number of hits an hour on wiki
Number of hits an hour on Wikipedia.

There we have it, an overview of how popular each hour is on an online shop. Don't forget to leave your comments below.

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