Social Warfare’s Share Counts are populated (or ‘fetched’) through the API of each social network individually. This ensures share count accuracy, and if you ever switch domains, your share counts will remain the same.
How these numbers are calculated varies depending on the network. Some social networks will count only the number of unique times a link has been shared, while others will also count social actions taken on those shared links (such as “Likes” or “Shares” or even comments in some cases). In short, the number shown represents the most accurate number of quantifiable social actions taken on the shared URL.
What our plugin doesn’t do is directly count shares themselves. It merely fetches this number from the social networks and caches them, so they are as accurate as the information given directly by the networks the last time this information was fetched.
Caching the Numbers
New posts only fetch share counts once per hour. After it fetches them, it caches (stores) those fetched numbers to increase the speed of your page load (constantly fetching new numbers in real time would slow your site down considerably). This once-per-hour cache and update will occur for about 21 days after your content is published.
After those 21 days, share information will be cached and updated every few hours instead of every hour (again, for the purpose of speeding up your site load times).
As previously stated, Social Warfare gets all share counts from the respective social networks. So our numbers are only as accurate as the social networks are recording them.
There is a known issue with Pinterest counts that we’ve been assured is being worked on by Pinterest’s development team, so for the moment, the ball is in their court, and we will keep you updated.
We also have a built-in setting that ensures that if social share counts are ever unreachable (this happens from time to time with the Pinterest API, for example), then Social Warfare will not return a lower number than the one previously cached. This does not solve problems with networks’ APIs, but it will ensure your ‘Social Proof’ doesn’t take a visible hit.