The most common reason people post on social media is "to share interesting things" (61%), according to a recent report from Ipsos.

The next most popular motivation is to "to share important things" (43%), followed by "to share funny things" (43%).

Other common reasons for sharing online are "to let others know what I believe in and who I really am" (39%); "to recommend a product, service, movie, book, etc." (30%); "to add my support to a cause, an organization, or a belief" (29%); and "to share unique things" (26%).

Two in ten share "to let others know what I'm doing" (22%) and "to add to a thread or conversation" (20%). One in ten say they share on social media "to show I'm in the know" (11%).

Overall, 71% of respondents said they had shared something on a social media in the past month.

Below, additional key findings from the report, which was based on an online survey of more than 12,000 global "sharers" (people who had shared some type of content on social media sites in the previous month).

Regional Differences

  • "To share interesting things" was the top reason for social media sharing across nearly all 24 countries surveyed. One notable exception was Saudi Arabia, where respondents were most likely to choose "to let others know what I believe in and who I really am" (65%) as their top reason.
  • Those most likely to indicate they engage in sharing on social media sites "to share interesting things" were from China (76%), Indonesia (76%), South Africa (74%), Turkey (71%), Russia (68%), Spain (66%), Canada (65%), Great Britain (65%), and the United States (65%).

About the research: The report was based on an online poll of an international sample of 18,150 adults (12,420 "sharers") age 18-64 in the US and Canada, and 16-64 in all other countries. The poll was conducted between April 2 and April 16, 2013.

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image of Ayaz Nanji

Ayaz Nanji is a writer, editor, and a content strategist. He is a co-founder of ICW Media and a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji