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Does Slide Share Drive Engagement?

Over three days the presentation went from 17 views to 1,500+ with a few dozen re-tweets, likes, and favorites.Let me begin by saying SlideShare is a great service assembled by hard working entrepreneurs like myself. My user experience was impressive and it really was easy to upload my Power Point slide deck. On February 20, 2012 I posted 10 Critical Startup Tasks to SlideShare, promoting AwareLabs, and it was almost immediately featured on their home page. Over three days the presentation went from 17 views to 1,500+ with a few dozen re-tweets, likes, and favorites.

It's now February 28, 2012 and I've checked the Google Analytics on AwareLabs. The argument for SlideShare is that it creates social capital and cannot be measured in analytics. The service does promote their ability to market your brand. Good brand marketing should result in engagement, any marketing for that fact should result in engagement. The final slide was dedicated to promoting our website URL with a clear call to action: There are 100 more PR tasks on AwareLabs.

I was surprised, after looking at traffic sources, overall traffic, time on site for organic traffic, and bounce rate. With 1,500+ views in 3 days my expectations were high, thats 500+ views per day. My presentation was opened and viewed every 3 minutes for 3 days. The effect was surprising but explainable:

Analytics MetricExpectationRealityWhy
Traffic Sources SlideShare will show in the top 10 traffic sources for those three days. Not even a single click registered as a source. SlideShare does not link to my site, the link in the presentation is not clickable.
Time On Site SlideShare will increase this because users are further down the funnel after the presentation. Yes, even for organic traffic. No change at all, average time on site for the three days was the same as the period before and after. If anyone visited the site after the presentation they did not stay any longer. Either no one visited the site after viewing the presentation or the message was not compelling enough.
Bounce Rate SlideShare should have decreased it since again the visitors should be further down the funnel. Like time on site, no measurable change. I get the feeling no one visited.
Overall Traffic With 1500+ views in 3 days I expected an increase even if the conversion from SlideShare to AwareLabs was low. At 5% thats 75 visits, enough to register this early in the life of AwareLabs. This was a shock, even the social capital isn't registering. There was absolutely no increase in traffic over 3 days to AwareLabs. In the week after, also no change. Being featured on the home page of SlideShare is like being on the home page of Digg except without the link. People are clicking through dozens of presentations and you are competing for a lowered attention span.

Slide Share Lessons LearnedMy conclusion? SlideShare pays dividends in Twitter follows, Facebook shares, and favorites. Those exceeded any direct traffic benefit. So put together short concise slides that are designed to be shared. The 25 minutes I spent assembling the presentation will probably be recouped over time, the presentation is there forever. I'll give it time, it costs me nothing once its posted.

Written By: Paul Kenjora

Paul Kenjora is the Product Manager and founder at AwareLabs, a company that provides the next generation website builder for small businesses. He has 10+ years product development experience, has launched sites netting millions of visits a day, and has consulted for fortune 500 companies.