How to Boost Social Referrals on Mobile Devices with Strong Title Copy

Let’s be clear about the nature of mobile usage for social media: 60% of Facebook users access their account via mobile devices (600M out of 1B users).

Suffice it to say, much of what your customers share (content, products, deals, etc.) is viewed on a small screen by their friends. As you will see below, shared messages are deprecated on mobile apps.  That means less marketing copy is displayed to accommodate smaller screens. The key to driving social referrals on mobile devices – new visitors to your site is this: Focus on the title. And make sure it clearly includes a call to action.

Keep in mind, a thoughtful title can double your referral traffic. See how Birchbox doubled their referral traffic here.

Whether you are running social sharing or refer-a-friend campaigns using the Friendbuy platform, you’ll want to understand how shared content is modified on profile pages and mobile devices. We’re volunteering Friendbuy’s own refer-a-friend program as the example.

Here’s Friendbuy’s refer-a-friend page:

Refer a friend

The page from which our customers share, the Friendbuy refer-a-friend page, has ample real estate to communicate an incentive to the referrer (top, bolded headlines) and right below that, there’s additional space to visually display the content that that will accompany the referrer’s personal message namely, the ‘shared image’ (the Friendbuy logo) and ‘description’ which is the offer that will draw referral traffic from the sharer’s friends when it hits their newsfeed (said another way, the content is posted to the sharers’s wall and subsequently published to their friends’ newsfeeds – the very people you want to click and visit your site.)

Here’s how the social story appears in a NEWSFEED (desktop environment):

As you can see, the shared content holds up perfectly:

  • Title (intact)
  • URL (intact)
  • Description (intact)

Here’s how the shared story appears on a PROFILE PAGE (desktop environment):

As you can see, the shared content is somewhat diminished:

  • Title (intact)
  • URL (intact)
  • Shared Image (intact)
  • Description (truncated, leaving 2 lines of copy)

Now let’s check out that social story on a MOBILE NEWS FEED:


Whoa!!!! Mobile apps cut out all of the description. What’s left is the shared image, title and URL, circled above.

Let’s state the obvious: The title is super important because it’s the only copy that stays intact.  The title gives you the ability to deliver a call to action.

Choose wisely. Get that call to action right ‘up front and center.’


  • Make sure your title contains the call to action.
  • If you’re making an offer, include it in the headline (“Get 20% off…”)
  • Consider “‘click here” and “check this out” or other command-like instructions.

Tony Mariotti

Tony Mariotti is COO at Friendbuy, the marketing platform that makes it really easy to launch a customer referral program. A/B test and optimize your refer-a-friend campaigns without developer headaches. You can follow him on Twitter.

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