Last month, AOL and Nielsen Online crossed their US data to release the following research : “Content is the fuel of the social web”, introducing many interesting findings.
1. Content sharing landscape
Here is the big picture:
- 27 000 000 pieces of content are shared every day in the United States
- 53% of time spent on the Internet is directly attributable to content consumption
- 23% of social media messages include links to content
- 60% of industry-specific content-sharing messages on social medias specifically mention a brand or product name
As you can see, brands play a key-role in content sharing. It’s also notable that most often shared content comes from a trusted source, and is perceived as an helpful information to other people.
2. Content sharing occurs everywhere
This data demonstrate that content sharing occurs where it is the easiest on a volume standpoint : forward button is indeed easy on email, social media and blogs are highly integrated together and generally provide easy share widgets.
3. Most popular channels to share content: Email (66%), Social medias (28%), Instant messages (4%)
Most probably, Social medias have a big growth potential in online sharing, but frontiers are thiner and thiner: Most Social medias include a message system very similar to email (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Viadeo, so on…) because among other reasons, one-to-one conversations are quite difficult in a public (world-wide) broadcast.
4. Pass-along and link-back content
Findings show that because some shared content is linked to while some is embedded, marketers have two tactics for exploiting the behavior of content sharing – one for each:
* Pass-Along: Since 36% of content shared on social platforms is embedded, marketers should ensure their message is part of the content that’s being passed along (e.g., branded entertainment).
* Link-Back: Since 60% of content shared on social platforms includes a link to an external site, marketers’ messages should “be there” when users link back to engage with that piece of content on the external site (e.g., display advertising).
Both approaches allow brands to capitalize on the mainstream behavior of content sharing across the social Web.
5. Content sharing is a growing trend, especially with women and industry-specific messages
53% of time spent on the Internet for content consumption is a big data. I wouldn’t have expected it to be so high. The study also reveals that content sharing occurs nearly twice more on industry-specific topics than general ones: Tech, Automobile, so on… Different goals are outlined : Information, Commentary, Marketing, Amusement… Also interesting to note that women states they share more today than 2/3 years ago – compared to men.
6. End notes
Whereas Social media gurus and others are quick to predict email and email marketing’s death, the old channel still resists and will resist -adapting and becoming more portable-, like I explained in depth before here, in 2009 (in french).
Finally, here is the research summary.