Understanding Consumer Sharing

Pinterest is fastest-growing, big in the Midwest

by Jason Falls |

Understanding the who, what, when, where, why and how people share content online should be a critical insight for your brand. Not only does it inform your tactical decisions for social and content marketing, it belies the future of overall marketing success as consumer behavior is trending away from mainstream advertising effectiveness and more toward word-of-mouth marketing, even online.

Unfortunately, clear understanding of share metrics is hard to come by. Installing share buttons on your website provided by the social networks don’t often provide analytics to go along with them. Your website analytics only go so far. So we have to rely on sharing tool companies and their aggregated data to understand this critical component to our communications efforts.

ShareThis is one such social application. The content distribution button is used by many blogs and media sites as the mechanism a user selects a network to share whatever content their consuming. The company releases insights from its aggregated data quarterly. These stats give us a glimpse — not a definitive read by any stretch — into some of the who, what, when, where, why and how of sharing.

According to ShareThis, in 2013, Pinterest grew more than any other social channel in share frequency. Other channels grew — Facebook by 57 percent — except for email, which dropped 11 percent. Now, before you immediately think that people aren’t sharing via email anymore, know the context of this statistic: More people shared by email in the past than any other channel. As others grow, it will naturally level off or even decline. Plus, these share buttons are more likely used by share-centric users who are likely pre-disposed to share publicly rather than privately through email.

Pinterest also has a higher concentration of users in the midwestern United States than other regions, which is quite interesting. Women in the heartland share more than the national average (not by much) but you seldom see non-East or West Coast regions dominating the use of technology. Overall, the Northeast and West share with higher volume than the Midwest or South.

Another tidbit I pulled from this quarter’s report was the time of day sharing. While the data isn’t different than it always has been, the quick decision marketer would look at the graph and see that from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m., sharing volume is pretty level. There’s not a lot of insight to pull out of that. But you do notice an uptick in share volume from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. (makes sense … most people are at home networking personally and sharing content after the work day). It’s easy to say, “I should share more during those hours since that’s when more people are sharing.” But adding to the noise there means you have more to compete against. While it may not be a bad idea to fish where the fish are, your chances of being seen may be better from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. where saturation is down, but usage is on an up-tick.

The infographic that serves as the public report is below. What do you see that is interesting? The comments are yours.

ShareThis Consumer Sharing Trends Report Q4_2013

About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).