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Content Fuels Social Media Interaction

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Content is the fuel of social interaction on the Web: Nearly one-quarter (23%) of all social media messages and one-half (47%) of industry-specific social messages contain links to content, according to a new study by AOL and Nielsen. 

The amount of content shared via social media varies by channel:

  • 42% of all Twitter posts contain content-sharing links; 73% of Twitter posts related to a specific industry (auto, tech, finance, and entertainment) contain sharing links.
  • 41% of all blog posts contain content-sharing links; 64% of industry-specific blog posts contain such links.
  • 12% of all Facebook posts contain content content-sharing links; 22% of industry-specific Facebook posts contain such links.

Below, other findings from the from AOL report, published in partnership with Nielsen, based on data from Nielsen's Incite Social Media monitoring tools and a survey of 1,000 online consumers.

Roughly 27 million pieces of digital content are shared on any given day in the US.


Among other key content-related findings:

  • 53% of time spent on the Internet is directly attributable to content consumption.
  • Brands play a key role: 60% of all content-sharing messages specifically mention a brand or product name.
  • Email is the primary content-sharing tool among surveyed consumers (66%), followed social media (28%) and instant messaging (4%).

Sharing Trusted Information

Consumers say trust and a desire to help people are key factors in deciding which content to share:

  • 38% share information from people they trust.
  • 36% share important information that helps others (e.g., traffic reports, how-to, community information).
  • 35% share items about popular culture.
  • 32% share information pertaining to common interests.

Most People Share via Multiple Platforms

Nearly all (99%) people who share content via social media also use email to share content:

Some 40% of social media sharers also use email, instant messaging, and message boards to share content.

Formats of Shared Content

Digital content is shared in primarily two ways:

  1. Link-back media: 60% of content shared on social platforms includes a link (URL) to published content on an external site.
  2. Pass-along media: 36% of content shared on social platforms is embedded.
  3. Link-back non-media: 4% of content shared includes a link (URL) to a brand or corporate website.

Looking for great digital marketing data? MarketingProfs reviewed hundreds of research sources to create our most recent Digital Marketing Factbook (May 2010), a 296-page compilation of data and 254 charts, covering email marketing, social media, search engine marketing, e-commerce, and mobile marketing. Also check out The State of Social Media Marketing, a 240-page original research report from MarketingProfs.


Context of Shared Content, by Industry

Across four key industries, most shared content is informational—consisting of general news, announcements, product information, and how-to exchanges.

Even so, tech-related informational content is most likely to be shared (74%), as is commentary and opinion related to the financial sector (28%).

Content containing information about deals is most likely shared in tech (14%) and entertainment (12%).

About the study: Findings are based on Nielsen's NM Incite Social Media Monitoring tools, Online Behavior Panel and Attitudinal analysis, tracking more than 10,000 social media messages; and on a survey of more than 1,000 Nielsen Online panel members for 10 consecutive days, December 14-23, 2010.


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  • by Spencer Broome Tue May 3, 2011 via web

    "Nearly all (99%) people who share content via social media also use email to share content"

    That's why you can't just rely on one avenue, you have to pursue consumers through multiple touch points.


  • by Dydacomp Tue May 3, 2011 via web

    Creating interesting and compelling content is key to ensuring that people will share it with others. It is a great tool to attract visitors to both your website and blog, even for eCommerce businesses. eCommerce businesses need to create compelling product descriptions and other content that will help entice customers to shop on your website.


    Thanks for sharing!

    Molly Griffin
    Dydacomp

  • by Nick Stamoulis Wed May 4, 2011 via web

    This is some really great information! It also reaffirms my opinion that e-mail marketing isn't dead. If you want to really push your content, you have to send it out through a variety of channels.

  • by alain Hemelinckx Wed May 11, 2011 via web

    some definitions would be usefull ... what is a "product informaiton", vs a recommendation... ie to what extend do cy's have integrated that their top down information is useless as it is no longer trusted by consumers. ( ie Edelman ).
    Kind regards
    Alain

    PS thanks for the share !

  • by Dale Lovell Wed May 18, 2011 via web

    This is extremely interesting research about the value of content in social interaction online. The phrase Content is King has never been more apt, which is why more and more brands are taking up content production and becoming publishers themselves, usually with the assistance of expert online content agencies such as our selves at Search News Media. Great bit of research.

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