Study: Where, why and how do people share content…

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For some years, I have used a graphic by ShareThis to show how content is distributed, or as we say today: How content is shared. And sharing is important to generate buzz, companies and brands thought and Social Media experts made us think so. It still is but there a tiny differences which might affect your business impact…

ShareThis is sharing their latest sharing insights in cooperation with Starcom MediaVest Group and Rubinson Partners, and it seems the social web sky is not as blue as people thought. The ShareThis button offers many insights to the platform owners and how people use social tools and networks to share „their“ content. And when you have the ability to analyse the sharing habits of over 300 million people and 1000 publishers a month who pass links with a ShareThis button, resulting in 7 billion pageviews a month, then there is definitely some trends you can make out…

The study shows that sharing now accounts for an estimated 10% of all Internet traffic and 31% of referral traffic to sites from search and social. However, search still is twice as big as social.

It is not surprising that Facebook rules the sharing process these days. In terms of clicking through to sites, Facebook now generates 38% of all sharing referral traffic. Email and Twitter come in at second with each 17%. However, Facebook does even better. 56% of all shared content comes from the leader in social networks. Email do 15% (down from 34%!) and Twitter at 8% (down from 12%).

But which social network does better in actual clicks? Twitter is better here: Links on the micro-blogging platform are clicked 4.9 times each, Facebook 4.3 times and email 1.7 times. It would be interesting to see if there are no numbers for social bookmarking platforms. I would like to see which of these platforms are resources for those who are the „first clickers and sharers“.

Why? The study puts a question mark behind the sharing philosophy that talks about the viral capabilities of networks. If people share a link, then the first level of people who get the link will click but if these firtst clickers pass it on, then the chance to get more attention and clicks falls massively. This shows the importance of brand advocates for the distribution of content but also for the pocesses inside your sales, marketing, HR and customer service teams. Most companies and brands still don’t understand the value of these business enablers.

Spot On!
The study gives advice which social networks are good for which sharing topics. On Facebook people like to share entertainment and shopping links whereas Twitter is more for business and health topics. People tend to share what they are most involved in, or what their conversations with friends, fans and followers are about. No difference to the offline world. Sharing is the future of business approval, and the modern definition of personality. People are not sharing everything, although some companies would love to see this. 80% of people share only one category of links. It is even less when it comes to clicking: More than 70% will just click on one category.

Do these numbers surprise us? Or would you share something you don’t LIKE?

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