Sex on the Facebook Sign Up Form

by Rishi Shah on March 27, 2012

Each pixel on Facebook.com is highly tested to maximize sign ups. It is interesting to see the word “Sex” used so subtly, even though you didn’t notice your subconscious did.

The word “Sex” is extremely powerful,  it gets people excited. One big reason a lot of students sign up for Facebook is to see what their crush (slang for romantic interest) is doing.  So seeing the word “Sex” has to help peak their interest to sign up for Facebook.

Google Plus and most sign up forms I’ve seen around the web use “Gender” instead of “Sex” (see screen shots below).

Do you think Facebook is using Sex to their advantage? I’d love to know in the comments.

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{ 13 comments }

Randy March 27, 2012 at 1:03 PM

I can’t believe I never noticed that.

Yes, I do think they are using it to their advantage. Those guys test everything and I’m sure that was not overlooked.

Tom March 27, 2012 at 7:13 PM

They also don’t mean the same thing… it’s conceivable that Facebook is truly only asking for the biological sex, as opposed to culturally-recognized gender.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_gender_distinction

Rishi Shah March 27, 2012 at 7:27 PM

Tom I agree. You are technically correct. They are not the same thing and I believe 99.9% of the population understands that too.

It is highly unlikely that Facebook didn’t test using the word “Gender” vs. “Sex” though.

Ish March 28, 2012 at 9:29 AM

Nice find. I doubt anything is accidental on that page since its their sign up form. Initially the single most important page on their site.

Pete March 28, 2012 at 6:41 PM

All I can say is you got me… I was looking forward to something scandalous when I opened the email… so I’m pretty sure that language is working well for them.

I was going to check out archive.org to see whether it’s always been “Sex” but Facebook blocks that :(

Rishi Shah March 29, 2012 at 8:49 AM

It would be awesome to see the evolution of Facebook.com

Kai March 29, 2012 at 8:50 AM

It’s actually (mostly) on the page twice. Check it out: http://ka1.us/FPJB

Rishi Shah March 29, 2012 at 8:51 AM

KAI!!! Amazing find. How did you even see that?

Sami June 7, 2012 at 1:59 AM

My guess is that they probably needed to appeal to the lowest common denomination in terms of education. Think about when you have to fill out government or state forms and their usage, it’s nearly always sex m/f , so people are conditioned to that field. Gender as of late has become more prominent to be more politically correct, but brings with it all sorts of baggage. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-gender/#ProSexDis

Also, here’s an interesting exchange we had around this topic with someone that was clearly more in-the-know than we were. http://bit.ly/LtX1sG

Rishi Shah June 7, 2012 at 9:04 AM

Thanks for the comment Sami – I think we are both right. They probably did a ton of AB Testing to see which one got more conversions.

Sami June 7, 2012 at 4:10 PM

Most definitely. I’m sure they a/b tested the heck out of it.

blackman July 18, 2012 at 2:37 AM

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blackman July 18, 2012 at 2:40 AM

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