43% of news sharing online is via social media (CNN research)

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The Facebook Like Stamp
Image by Denis Dervisevic via Flickr

A study by CNN of how we share and consume news has found that social media is the most frequent way that we share stories online. In their study of 2,300 people over two months they found that social media was used to share news in 43% of all instances. Higher than email, which was the second most frequent method of sharing, with 30% of all instances. SMS was third (with 15% of instances) and instant messenger 4th (12%).

These statistics should not, in themselves be surprising. Social media is the easiest of all these ways for people to share news. To share on Facebook they just need to click a ‘Like’ button, and to share on Twitter or other sites there are one-click ways to share content with your friends and followers. Many sites (including our own) include these links and buttons and news sites, in particular are making good use of these. Sharing by email or SMS is more difficult – you need to copy the link, open the relevant program, find who you want to share it with and then send the link.

Social media tools remove many of these steps and, although we don’t have any timeseries data on this, I would hypothesise that the volume of all news stories shared has increased as the amount of sharing via social media has increased. Social media makes news sharing easier and encourages more people to do it.

The role of social media influencers in news sharing

What is perhaps more revealing from this research is the analysis of who shares what. The study found that 27% of ‘Frequent Sharers’ (defined as those sharing at least six stories each week) were responsible for 87% of all news shared online. As we see in most online communities, a small number of users are responsible for the majority of content produced and shared.

These influencers are those who are sharing very high volumes of news and for news organisations there is a real benefit to be gained from understanding more about how they behave and what they share. There is also a benefit for those advertising around the stories that are shared. CNN’s research found that people who received a news story from a friend in social media were more 19% more likely to recommend brands that advertised around this story. They were 27% more likely to favour the brand themselves.

So sharing of news stories in social media is beneficial not just to the news organisations but also to the brands who advertise alongside these stories. There is a real benefit to properly analysing and understanding how people share content online – who is sharing this and what content are they most likely to share. As social media grows and the use of ‘Like’ buttons becomes ubiquitous we should expect even more sharing online and so an ever increasing importance of proper analysis of what users are doing.

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5 Responses
  • Michelle
    Oct 11, 2010

    Thanks for sharing these stats, Matt, I hadn’t yet seen the CNN report, but it makese sense that those that share more news stories also share more about brands – they’re just natural sharers :D and it is hugely beneficial for brands to identify who that could be or is for them.

    Viva word of mouth (..and monitoring it ;) )

    Michelle @Synthesio

    Michelle Oct 11, 2010
  • [...] Who is responsible for sharing the masses of content? 27% of ‘Frequent Sharers’ (6 stories each week) were responsible for 87% of all news shared online, writes Freshnetworks. [...]

  • Selina
    Oct 13, 2010

    Social media is a disruptive technology. It’s going to change the world. But can we take a step further. Because of the Internet and the development of social media, people have to handle bunches of information at a time. Can we curated the information by importance and relevance?

    Actually, the company I’m working for is making something innovative in financial industry when comes to social media. We collects, filters, and extracts data from more than 10,000 blogs and
    news sources from mainstream financial media to grass-roots websites and opinions

    What do you think of that?

    Selina Oct 13, 2010
  • [...] The Evolution Of Social CRM Dell reaches $6.5m sales via Twitter Fillerama: A Filler Text Generator 43% of news sharing online is via social media IE9 introduces anti-tracking tool Inception app acoustically augments your reality Facebook Connect [...]

  • Feb 6, 2011

    Its good, its awesome.. but pretty soon, the deluge of information coming from Social Media will be overwhelming and mostly full of spam…

    In other words Social media is going to saturate soon.

    dBune Feb 6, 2011

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