ShareThis, a platform for sharing, in collaboration with Starcom MediaVest Group (SMG), has announced the launch of a study of online social sharing. Conducted by former ARF chief research officer, Joel Rubinson, the study gives insights to an online behavior that is shaping the way users interact with each other and with content online. This study is the first part in a series of studies as part of an ongoing partnership between ShareThis and SMG.
The study focuses on ShareThis’ database of sharing activity for the month of March 2011 and includes a detailed analysis of more than seven billion sharing signals across all major sharing channels, specifically looking at the sharing patterns of more than 300 million monthly users across the top 1,000 publisher websites of ShareThis.
According to Jeff Flemings, SVP, Human Experience Centers, SMG, "Sharing is a critical aspect of creating meaningful human experiences today. Getting large groups of people to share content, reactions, and updates with others in their social network at scale is a marketing must, but people only share what's important to them, so it's essential to have a deep understanding of what people are sharing and why. This joint research project with ShareThis helps us understand people's sharing behavior in unprecedented depth and granularity. We will use this understanding to help brands enable sharing behavior and integrate it into human experiences.”
Tim Schigel, chief executive officer, ShareThis said, “We’re thrilled to have conducted this first-of-its-kind study with such an influential and well respected company as SMG to provide publishers, advertisers and marketers with a deeper look at this online behavior and concretely show just how important sharing is.”
The study reveals that sharing generates almost half of the traffic for websites and brands that is created by search—10 percent of website visits come from sharing. Sharing also accounts for 31 percent of referral traffic.
Pointing out that sharing is about scale, and not virality, the study revealed that shared links are, on average across all sharing channels, clicked on 4.9 times each. Effectively, content shared by large groups of people reach a wider audience than content passed along from others.
Instead of one person being universally influential on a wide range of topics, the study found that many people are influential on only one or two topics. The study proves that sharing is a viable marketing solution for reaching audiences when they are most receptive to a particular category of advertising, such as CPG, business and financial services or consumer electronics.