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Why do people share on social media? Global survey results

We all know people share content on social media, but why? What do people share most in Johannesburg versus Jakarta? Do people prefer to share content that is educational or entertaining?

Social@Ogilvy and SurveyMonkey teamed up to study what, why and how makes social media users share.

In a 16-country online survey of over 6,500 respondents with social media profiles, results favoured content that is humorous and informative – with people expressing a desire to share in support of a specific cause or issue the most.
Emotion is a key driver in why we share content.
A blend of 'edutainment' hits the sweet spot in what we share.
It's not the source of content that counts, but how interesting the content is.
Higher quality branded content is needed in order spark user engagement.

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Why do people share on social media? Global survey results

  1. Why do we share? 16-country Survey Results by Social@Ogilvy and SurveyMonkey
  2. 2 Why Is Your Facebook Feed Covered With Buzzfeed Posts? Social@Ogilvy & SurveyMonkey surveyed 16 countries to find out!
  3. 3 Spoiler Alert: The Profile Of A Global Sharer 1. What kind of content do they share? Humorous and informational 2. Why are they sharing? To promote a cause and stay in touch with their fans and followers 3. What garners the most reaction from their fans? Humorous content 4. How do they feel about branded content? More likely to view it but rate quality as low or average
  4. 4 What Does This Mean? 1.Companies and content producers have an opportunity to get their message to reach even more people. 1.Focus on producing HIGH QUALITY content. 1.When thinking about the audience, focus less on attracting media attention and more on the everyday person. 2.One size does not fit all!
  5. 1: Sharing habits
  6. 6 How Often Do You Share Content on Social Media? 46% Almost half of respondents actively share content on their profiles
  7. 7 Who shares content the most? 80% 73% 71% 71% 68% China Hong Kong Brazil Mexico Turkey These countries usually or always share interesting content online.
  8. 8 How often do you share content on social media? 90% Least Active “Sharers” 67% 64% 57% Japan USA Germany Korea The following countries never share content or only do it once in a while. Both the most active and least active users are in Asia: four in ten (41%) in Hong Kong say they ALWAYS share interesting content online, while half in Japan say they NEVER share content.
  9. Why do users share content and what type of content do users share? Why: Top reasons for sharing: to promote a cause or issue (36%) and to stay in touch with people (34%). Very few, with notable exceptions in Hong Kong and China, also say that they post content because it makes them look smart. The top two reasons apply to most countries, except for those in Hong Kong and China who also mention that sharing content “helps define their personality” as another top reason. 9 64% 34% Newsworthy Informative
  10. 10 Why Do You Share Content? 36% 34% Social media users share so they can stay in touch and bring attention to issues they care about. Hardly anyone shares content for promotional purposes (both job and self).
  11. 11 What Type of Content Do You Share? Users prefer to share content that is either funny or informational, and say that funny content garners the most amount of attention from fans and followers. 35% Share entertaining content 38% Share informational content
  12. 0% 20% 40% 60% 12 Least Likely to Share Political Content 0% 2% 4% 6% Singapore China Indonesia Hong Kong While political content isn’t so popular in most countries, over two in ten (22%) in Turkey say that political material garners the biggest reaction. Poland Japan UK 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% Brazil Turkey Mexico Indonesia Most Likely to Share Informational Content Hong Kong Most Likely to Share Funny Content What Type Of Content Do Users Share?
  13. 13 Who Loves To Promote A Good Cause? There are a few countries whose top reason is clearly to promote issues and causes. 65% Mexico 55% USA 54% South Africa 46% Singapore 45% Russia
  14. 14 Mature Vs Emerging Markets: Which Type Of Content Are You Most Likely To Share? 40% Emerging Markets share entertaining content 43% MatureMarkets share informational content
  15. 15
  16. 16 Key Takeaway The focus should be on producing HIGH QUALITY content that has the following characteristics: 1.Helps address an issue or cause the public is passionate about. 2.Is both informational and humorous; “edutainment” is the sweet spot here.
  17. 2: Emotions behind the share
  18. 18
  19. 19 Do Emotions Affect Whether We Share? 61% say they are most likely to share content when they come across something newsworthy, less so because they are in a good mood (21%) or bored (13%). Hong Kong social media users stand out here: the top reason for sharing content is because they are in a good mood. Japanese users are the only group with a large portion saying they are most likely to share content when they are bored. Across all countries, very few say that they share content because they feel sad or lonely. 40% 43% 13%
  20. 20 What Is The Most Common Emotion Associated With Sharing? Chinese social media users differ here - their top emotion is creative. Few feel unique when sharing content, except in Japan (21%). In general, when you share content how does it make you feel? In general,when you share content howdoes it make you feel? 14% Feel Creative 32% Feel Useful Useful 32% Thoughtful 17% Creative 14% Resourceful 12%
  21. 21 Satisfaction From Informational Vs Funny Content Content Social Media Users Enjoy The Most Informational 39% Candid 26% Funny 14% Overall, touchy feely content isn’t as popular, while funny content is most popular in Hong Kong (36%). Countries That Enjoy Informational Content Indonesia 62% Mexico 53% USA 53% 39% Informational 62% Indonesia
  22. 3: Branded content sharing
  23. 23 Do people engage with branded content? Few social media users say they never read or watch branded content or ads, but only a quarter do so on a regular basis. Across the globe, three quarters of respondents would rate the quality of ads as average to poor. 77% Say ad quality is average to poor Who Is Sick Of Seeing Ads? Americans 83% Japanese 74% Korean 73% Six in ten say they see too many ads, while a little over a third (36%) say that the amount of branded or ad content is about right.
  24. 24 Quality of Ads American and Japanese users are most likely to give a lower rating on the quality of branded content and also least likely to watch such content. Most Likely To Read Or Watch Branded Content More than seven in ten social media users in these countries say they do so at least half of the time. Turkey 75% China 73% Hong Kong 71% In general what is the quality of branded advertising content? When you encounter branded or advertising content, how often do you read/watch it? 44% Good 39% Occasionally
  25. Emerging Markets Need High Quality Ads Social media users in emerging markets report that they are overwhelmed with ads. Emerging markets need to produce high quality content in order to get noticed. 25 = In general, what is the quality of branded or advertising content? MATURE MARKETS Good EMERGING MARKETS Good 46% 41%
  26. Sharing Branded And/Or Advertising Content Fewer users say they share ads: only about a third (36%) share branded content at least half of the time. Most Likely To Share Branded Content Social media users in the following countries stand out as the most likely to share content, with a majority in each group sharing ads they see at least half the time. When you encounter branded or advertising content, how often do you share it? 26 Hong Kong 63% China 62% Turkey 58% Mature Markets Occasionally Emerging Markets Never 39% 37%
  27. 27
  28. 28 What About the Content Source? The content source isn’t particularly important, except in China, Korea, and Turkey where content produced by established media outlets takes precedence. Further, the top-of-mind companies and organizations that produce the most interesting content are not the traditional content producers. Ads from food, beverage, and clothing along with established media organizations are mentioned less frequently than “clearinghouses for content” like Google and Facebook. 40% Say source doesn’t matter,as long as it’s interesting
  29. 29 While Content Source Is Not Important In Most Countries, There Are A Few Exceptions Emerging markets are more likely to share content from a friend than mature markets (27% vs 19%). Social media users in the Asian countries surveyed are more likely to share content from established media than the European markets surveyed (27% vs 19%). 28 27 26 25 24 23 Content SHARING FROM A Company/BRAND The most common type of content shared among Hong Kong users is content from a friend (32%). 39.2 39 38.8 38.6 38.4 38.2 38 37.8 37.6 37.4 Content SHARING FROM MEDIA Outlets Korea China Turkey Japanese, Polish, and German social media users are more likely to share content from a friend than an established media outlet. 22 Indonesia Hong Kong
  30. Country barriers to freedom of speech and press play a crucial role in the type of source that content sharers engage with and trust 30
  31. 31 What Are The Top Reasons To Follow An Organization? Top Reasons To Follow Organizations Products, Offers, or News 34% Entertainment 19% To Give Direct Feedback 16% 34% Products, Offers, or News 19% Entertainment
  32. 32 Key Takeaways Focus on producing HIGH QUALITY content. To get noticed, it is even more important to produce high quality content in emerging markets in what is viewed by social media users as a space overcrowded with ads. When thinking about the audience, focus less on media attention and more on the everyday person. The content source, individual companies, and brands aren’t as important, but where people can find content is.
  33. 4: Brands acing content marketing
  34. What companies or organizations regularly produce interesting content? Hornbach 34 UK Germany AppleNIVEA GoogleSonyBild Yahoo Facebook BMW YouTube The Guardian Twitter Vine McDonald's Knorr eBayEdeka Media Markt Spiegel L'Oreal Coca-Cola Amazon WWF Paddy Power Vodafone Samsung Greenpeace France Poland OrangeY Żubr Wirtualna Polska VIVA L'Oreal La Redoute LU Nestlé Coca-ColaLe Monde Danone Allegro ING Bank Red Bull House Sony LOT ouTube AppleOasis Amazon Nike SonyGoogle Facebook IKEA KNPNikePlus Heyah Pepsi Onet Adidas Danone FacebookGoogle C&A Nokia TVN Mercedes-Benz Biedr OrangePlay Panasonic onka Coca-Cola Marks & Spencer YouTube The Sun Virgin Google Change.org BuzzFeed Sky 3 Guinness Tesco BootsBBCApple BT Sainsbury's Huffington Post John LewisCoca-ColaNikeEvian Facebook Cadbury comparethemarket.com
  35. What companies or organizations regularly produce interesting content? 35 USA Mexico PETA Google Huffington Post Drudge Report Amazon Coca-Cola PBS LG Upsocl Telcel UpworthyBBC New York Times Apple BuzzFeed ESPN Greenpeace Heineken Yahoo Quo Televisa Mother Jones GeicoHumaneSociety I Fucking Love Science NPR Aristegui Noticias Kraft Budweiser Privalia eresant Old Spice Brazil South Africa OUTsuranceRed Bull YouTube The WHOot Coca-Cola9gag Volkswagen Stardoll Fiat Pontofrio Unilever Sony LG Vodacom ItaúMicrosoft Nando's Ford Twitter Renner Primedia Nestlé Catraca Livre Magazine Luiza Citroen Nike TED FNB Zando Levi's Virgin Discover FacebookGoogle L'Oreal Passarela Groupon NetflixGloboSamsung Dove Nike News24 Veja Samsung Banco de Brasil MTN Allan Gray DStv Eyewitness News Apple Toyota Maroela Media Johnson&Johnson Hypeness Dell Superinteressante Oi Natura Skol Heineken SubmarinoGoogle Vivo Coca-ColaAppleZaffari Dafiti YouTubeFacebookFolha Netshoes Bom Negócio Havaianas Porta dos Fundos UOL O Boticário Ambev Greenpeace Microsoft National Geographic FacebookTwitter Linio CEMEX Adidas La Bioguía Coca-ColaSony YouTube Ford Walmart Samsung Corona AppleGoogleNikeDiscovery Muy Int P&G e Huggies
  36. What companies or organizations regularly produce interesting content? 36 Hong Kong China Sohu Olay McDonald's New Balance HSBCSK-II AppleTVB Cathay Pacific YoukuMidea HP Qilu Tmall L'Oreal FacSingetelbLeonovook9gag Coca-Cola H&MYahoo NikeSInatelmDurexsWuneixgNike in P&G YouTube DBS Bank P&G Sina ESPN Opinionbus Google Samsung Japan Korea Google Microsoft Lotte NaverHyundai SamsungAdidas HankyorehNewstapaOlleh SK Yahoo Government EBS Blizzard Sharp Apple Daily NHK Line Bloter LG Apple CJ YouTubeFacebook Innis DaumUnitas BRAND YTN Twitter Ohmynews Panasonic SoftbankGoogle Suntory Sony Coca-Cola Rakuten YouTube NetEaseMI PepsiMcDonald's SinQaQWuTaobao Renren MiZone Mengiu ZhihuTudou
  37. What companies or organizations regularly produceinteresting content? 37 Singapore Indonesia Toko Bagus CadburyZaloraCoca-Cola Kaskus Yahoo WWF Bisnis FacebookKompasIndosat Globallshare Honda Amazon ZaloraYouTube Samsung Coca-Cola Blackberry Line BBC Pepsi SingtelSamsung Stomp Tiger Straits Times aruda Viva DetikXL P vSeornyG UnileH Apple Djarum76 Google Berniaga Telkomsel Air Asia Okezone Turkey Russia Hepsiburada YouTube TurkcellRed Bull Facebook ETi Vestel Sony Onedio MicrosoftSamsungWikipedia Coca-ColaKoç Bosch TNT Government Akbank Samsung Google Iş BankasıHürriyet Pepsi ÜlkerApplePhilips YandexApple DeFacto Nike Arçelik Markafoni Turkish Airlines Adidas KupiVIP Mercedes-Benz Trendyol Milliyet Tele2Coca-Cola BeelineAvonSherbank Rossii NikeMTSYouTub T oyota e Adidas VKeBayGoogle Sony Rakuten Lazada P&G Starhub Nike Accenture Qoo10 DBS Visa AppleYahoo Sony Xiaomi 9gag HeinekenScoot GoogleFacebookNestle Dove McDonald's Evian Durex Mediacorp YouTube Singapore Airlines Hardwarezone Groupon ChangiAirport
  38. 5: What can we apply from the research?
  39. 39 What Does This Mean? 1.Companies and content producers have an opportunity to get their message to reach even more people. 1.Focus on producing HIGH QUALITY content. 1.When thinking about the audience, focus less on attracting media attention and more on the everyday person. 2.One size does not fit all!
  40. 40 Survey Methodology Results were gathered online from 6,522 self-reported social media users aged 18+ in 16 countries using Survey MonkeyAudience. Surveys conducted in Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, UK, and USA were completed in June 2014, and surveys conducted in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and Singapore were completed in April 2014. For open-ended responses, only phrases with two or more mentions are shown in the word clouds. Countries defined as emerging markets: Brazil, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, China, Indonesia