share button count reset to zeroThere are a few social bookmarking services such as Addthis and Addtoany that you can use for your website to enable sharing of content. Once it has been shared, the share button counts are displayed for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more on your website.

Recently a client of mine told me that their social share button numbers for Share This had been reset to zero for all of their website’s pages and that the buttons were displaying zero for all of their content. This was a problem because they were reviewing their social analytics and needed a quick fix. And he wasn’t happy that his share button count wasn’t working.

My instant assumption was that it may be a problem with the service provider, I thought maybe they were having issues with their analytics server or something else. I knew that the share button counts are for each URL so that as long as the URLs do not change then the share button numbers should always be fine.

My client had recently moved servers so initially I thought that, the move of servers may be one of the causes. As it turned out I found that the website is always adding the ‘www’ prefix to the website URL. Which of course alters the share button count, this is also true for other providers, however if you use the Facebook API directly you can normalize the URL which returns consistent numbers and you can make more sense for your social analytics.

As it turned out I tested with various methods which I’ll list below to see if I could get to the bottom of the problem. So I set about trying to find the share button statistics for each URL to see if the numbers had really been reset to zero.

After my tests I found that the share buttons hadn’t been reset to zero and that all the numbers were fine but just hadn’t been displaying correctly on their website rather it was displaying a zero for each share. I didn’t find out the exact reason it was showing zeros which initially led my client to think that all his share button counts had reset to zero.

The next day it was back to normal displaying the correct numbers, perhaps confirming my initial assumption that the service providers where having issues with their share services API.

So if you are faced with a similar situation, maybe your share button numbers are reset to zero (so you think it is) or it could be that you just want to confirm if the share button numbers are correct or maybe you are an advanced user who needs to use it for social analytics then you can use the methods listed below to find out the real status.

Share Button Count Finder

To find the total number of Facebook shares and likes for a webpage URL copy and paste the below URL into a new browser tab/window. Remember to replace example.com with your own URL.

http://api.facebook.com/restserver.php?method=links.getStats&urls=http://example.com

This will return the total number times your page has been shared and liked on Facebook this includes the normalized URL too. Check the example below to see what is returned in the XML format.

<!--?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?-->

<links_getstats_response <span="" class="hiddenSpellError" pre="">xmlns="<a>http://api.facebook.com/1.0/</a>" xmlns:xsi="<a>http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance</a>" xsi:schemaLocation="<a>http://api.facebook.com/1.0/ http://api.facebook.com/1.0/facebook.xsd</a>" list="<a>true</a>">
<link_stat>
<url>http://topislamic.com/islamic-facebook-timeline-covers/</url>
<normalized_url>http://www.topislamic.com/islamic-facebook-timeline-covers/</normalized_url>
<share_count>31</share_count>
<like_count>22</like_count>
<comment_count>0</comment_count>
<total_count>53</total_count>
<click_count>0</click_count>
<comments_fbid>383859201697948</comments_fbid>
<commentsbox_count>0</commentsbox_count>
</link_stat>

You can see from the above XML Document that it has returned a considerable amount of information about the number of times it has been shared/liked on Facebook. The above uses REST method, for a slightly more different type of result copy and paste from below.

https://graph.facebook.com/?id=http://example.com

This uses the new FB graph API which is encouraged as the RESTful method will soon be deprecated.

And there are many other ways to get more detailed information about your webpage and how it has been used in Facebook – Check out: Facebook Developer API.

To find the Total Number of Twitter Share numbers use:

http://urls.api.twitter.com/1/urls/count.json?url=http://example.com

Dont forget to replace example.com with your own webpage address.

To find out share button counts for both Twitter and FB you can use k3min’s API but it can be a bit slow sometimes but worth a try.

http://k3min.cdn.liquid8002.net/apis/social.json?url=http://example.com

If you can’t be asked to do any of the above and you just want to enter your website URL into another website and find the total share button numbers for Facebook, Twitter, Google+1, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Delicious and StumbleUpon all at once you can use: SharedCount Social URL Analytics

For more advanced Social Analytics, there is topsy. They also have a free version, sign up for an API key.

Have you been having any issues like this? Do you know of any other methods we can benefit from? I’d be happy to hear your views.