Which Content Categories Are Being Shared on Which Social Networks?

July 9, 2014

ShareThis-Content-Sharing-by-Category-and-SocNet-in-Q2-July2014Social sharing via mobile devices continues to the rise, with sharing from smartphones and tablets in Q2 growing by 19% from Q1, when they first accounted for a majority of social sharing actions (sharing of website content such as articles, photos and videos via social networks). That’s according to the latest quarterly report from ShareThis, which aside from detailing a host of interesting data related to mobile sharing, also contains some intriguing figures concerning the types of content categories that are being shared on various social networks.

The report examines 8 content categories across 3 prominent social networks, deriving an index representing the relative difference between sharing activity on those specific channels and overall sharing activity within a specific category. The results show that:

  • Twitter generates 8% more Arts & Entertainment sharing activity than average, with Facebook about average and Pinterest under-indexing in this category by a significant margin;
  • Twitter generates 67% more Business & Finance sharing activity than average, with Facebook (14% less) and Pinterest (20% less) under-indexing in this category;
  • Both Pinterest (+13%) and Facebook (+9%) over-index in Family & Parenting content sharing activity, while the opposite is true for Twitter;
  • Facebook and Pinterest are about average in terms of Health & Fitness sharing activity, while Twitter sharing of this content is far below average;
  • Facebook (+21%) and Twitter (+20%) each generate more content sharing about Politics than average, while Pinterest (-94%) tends to not be a sharing channel for this type of content;
  • Science & Technology sharing activity is above-average on Twitter, but below-average on both Pinterest and Facebook;
  • Sports content sharing is far above average on Twitter (+93%), and just as far below-average on Pinterest (-86%); and
  • Pinterest generates a whopping 226% more Shopping content sharing activity than average, with Facebook (-17%) and Twitter (-43%) both under-indexing in this category.

So who’s engaging in content sharing via mobile devices? Notably, some 43% of social sharing activity on tablets was driven by users aged 55 and older, whose sharing on tablets grew by 88% quarter-over-quarter. That’s less surprising than it appears on the surface: data contained in a recent MarketingCharts Debrief [download page] on Baby Boomers indicates that not only are Baby Boomers (50-69) more likely than the average adult to use a tablet on a weekly basis, but that among the tablet-using population, Baby Boomers spend more time using them than their Millennial (18-34) counterparts.

Meanwhile, the ShareThis study also notes that sharing via smartphones grew by 24% quarter-over-quarter among those aged 55 and older, while tablet (+43%) and smartphone (+22%) sharing by 36-55-year-olds each grew. Sharing growth among 18-25-year-olds was more modest.

Other Findings:

  • While overall sharing via smartphones grew by 27.8% quarter-over-quarter, tablet sharing increased by a relatively smaller 3.5%, while desktop sharing activity declined by 5.5%.
  • Some 72% of smartphone social sharing in Q2 occurred on Facebook, with Twitter (14%) and Pinterest (12%) generating most of the remaining shares;
  • Facebook accounted for a relatively smaller 64% of tablet sharing actions, with Pinterest (22%) seeing more influence in this space;
  • While 56% of sharing on Facebook was mobile, that figure rose to 71% on Twitter and 77% on Pinterest;
  • Tablet sharing was up by 11% quarter-over-quarter among African-Americans and by 8% among Hispanics, while smartphone sharing by these groups grew by 15% and 4%, respectively; and
  • While 64% of all shares occurred on Facebook, its share of shares (excuse the pun) declined by about 4% points from Q1, with Pinterest (+1.3% points to 9%) and Twitter (+0.8% points to 9%) both gaining.

About the Data: The analysis is based on sharing behavior across more than 120 social channels using ShareThis tools enabled on websites reaching 95% of the US online population on desktop and mobile devices.

Given that the data pertains to use of ShareThis tools, the results do not account for copying and pasting of links.

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