Content sharing to Pinterest increased by 58% during 2013, propelling the social network past email in Q4 to become the third-most preferred social sharing channel, according to a new report from ShareThis. Pinterest’s growth rate was matched by Facebook, which had a 57% gain of its own, an impressive result given its much larger base. Content sharing via email, by contrast, declined by 11%, the only channel of the top 5 to experience a decrease.
Content sharing to Twitter (the second-largest platform) and LinkedIn (the smallest of the 5 measured) grew by 15% and 40%, respectively.
With ShareThis having previously reported Facebook’s growth in content sharing volume through Q3 to be 32%, the latest data suggests that there was a surge in sharing to the social network in the fourth quarter of the year. Separate research also shows that Facebook was growing quickly as a social referrer of traffic during the fourth quarter.
ShareThis, which comScore says reaches more than 9 in 10 online Americans on desktop devices, reports that content sharing via social channels grew by 37% year-over-year in Q4. It’s worth noting that the data pertains to use of ShareThis tools; while enabled on a large swathe of websites, the results do not account for copying and pasting of links. Given the incredible volume of emails sent on a worldwide basis [pdf], it’s quite possible (though not proven) that email’s actual influence is understated. A study last year from SocialTwist, for example, that brand advocates overwhelmingly choose email rather than social networks when referring products to friends.
Returning to the ShareThis data, the report also details regional differences in “share rate per channel,” indicating that sharers in the West have an affinity for Facebook and Google+, while those in the Northeast have an outsized preference for Twitter and LinkedIn.
Overall, content sharing via social channels tends to peak between 8 and 9PM, per the report. Those in the West tend to start their sharing earlier in the morning while tailing off earlier in the evening. ShareThis confirms that the data was standardized such that the regional discrepancy isn’t directly the result of time zone differences.