Which Content Categories Are Being Shared on Which Devices?

October 14, 2014

ShareThis-Content-Sharing-by-Category-and-Device-in-Q3-Oct2014How do consumers share various categories of content – such as business and finance or shopping? Recent research from ShareThis has demonstrated which social channels are preferred for different types of categories. Now, new data provided to MarketingCharts by ShareThis to accompany its latest quarterly report provides a fuller picture of social sharing by revealing the devices that are preferred for a number of different categories.

Overall, a majority of sharing events took place on a smartphone or tablet during Q3, with this threshold first having been passed in the first quarter. The data provided by ShareThis examines 11 content categories across smartphones, tablets and desktops, deriving an index representing the relative difference between sharing activity on those devices and overall sharing activity within a specific category. The results show that:

  • Arts and Entertainment content is shared relatively evenly across devices, though tablets under-index by a relatively small degree (-6%);
  • Business and Finance content sees above-average sharing on desktops (+24%), with smartphones (-17%) and tablets (-12%) under-indexing to a significant degree (this is likely the result of most business and finance content being consumed on desktops rather than mobiles);
  • Both smartphones (+7%) and tablets (+6%) over-index in Family and Parenting content sharing activity, while the opposite is true for desktops (-10%);
  • A similar pattern emerges for Health and Fitness content, which sees above-average sharing on smartphones (+8%) and tablets (+4%) as opposed to desktops (-11%);
  • Politics content tends to be shared more on desktops (+5%) than on smartphones (-2%) or tablets (-7%);
  • Science and technology similarly sees a skew towards desktops (+18%) rather than smartphones (-12%) or tablets (-10%), with this tilt more pronounced than for Politics content;
  • Shopping content for clothes, home, and CPG is shared at a significantly above-average rate on tablets (+28%, +50%, +42%, respectively), while under-indexing on smartphones; but
  • Shopping content for technology sees far greater sharing activity on desktops (+31%) than on smartphones (-22%) or tablets (-15%).

The data indicates that for the most part, content sharing tendencies tend to align on smartphones and tablets (to varying degrees) across most categories, save for shopping, where smartphones are less used for sharing and tablets more so. That’s not too surprising, given that tablet users tend to be more comfortable than smartphone users shopping on their devices.

Interestingly, ShareThis’s latest report indicates that sharing on mobiles is much greater in the week before and after a major event, and that 85% of all sharing occurs on mobile devices in the 24 hours surrounding such an event. Other notable takeaways from the study include:

  • Shares surrounding major news or media events generate a clickback rate far higher than average in the days surrounding the events;
  • Facebook gains prominence as a sharing destination in the weeks surrounding a major event, while Twitter activity triples within 2-3 days of the event and Reddit activity also jumps during the week following the event;
  • Entertainment events tend to see more sharing on Facebook, while sports events shift towards Twitter and international news ups sharing activity on Reddit;
  • Broadcast events draw more sharing on tablets, likely as tablet use is widespread in front of the TV;
  • Sharing of related topics tends to increase around major events; and
  • Younger consumers are most active immediately after events, while older users pick up steam in the days and weeks after the event.

About the Data: The data is based on consumer sharing behavior from July to September across the entire ShareThis network, which covers 450+ million unique users, 2.5 million sites and apps, 120+ social channels, and desktop and mobile devices.

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