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Sharing generates more than 10 per cent of all internet traffic: SMG, ShareThis study

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | June 10, 2011
Facebook accounts for 38 per cent of all sharing referral traffic. Email and Twitter follow next, with 17 per cent each.

Sharing on the web generates more than 10 per cent of all internet traffic (almost half the volume of search), wherein Facebook stands as the largest sharing channel across the web space. According to a study put together by the California-based company ShareThis, in collaboration with Starcom MediaVest Group and Rubinson Partners, Facebook accounts for 38 per cent of all sharing referral traffic. Email and Twitter follow next with 17 per cent each.

The study focusses on ShareThis' database of sharing activity for the month of March 2011. It attempts to make a detailed analysis of more than 7 billion sharing signals across all major sharing channels, specifically looking at the sharing patterns of more than 300 million monthly users across the Top 1,000 publisher websites of ShareThis.

The study highlights how sharing stacks up compared to search when it comes to generating traffic for websites and brands, how people share different types of content across different types of social channels, and how sharing gives all users the ability to be influential. Specifically, the study findings include a number of takeaways important to marketers and advertisers as they explore ways to better serve, reach and engage their audiences.

Some highlights of the study:

Sharing is bigger than Fans, Friends and Followers: Sharing also accounts for 31 per cent of referral traffic.

Sharing is about scale, not virality: Shared links are, on an average, across all sharing channels, clicked on 4.9 times each. So, content shared by large groups of people reach a wider audience, than content passed along from others.

Everyone who shares is an influencer if the subject is important to him or her: Instead of one person being universally influential on a wide range of topics, the study found that many people are influential on only one or two topics.

Sharing is about moments of opportunity and relevance: The study proves that sharing is a viable marketing solution for reaching audiences when they are most receptive to a particular category of advertising, such as consumer packaged goods, business and financial services, or consumer electronics.

Jeff Flemings, senior vice-president, human experience centers, SMG, says, "Sharing is a critical aspect of creating meaningful human experiences today. Getting large groups of people to share content, reactions and updates with others in their social network at scale is a marketing must. However, people only share what's important to them, so it's essential to have a deep understanding of what people are sharing and why."

According to Flemings, the joint research project with ShareThis will help understand people's sharing behaviour with unprecedented depth and granularity. "We will use this understanding to help brands enable sharing behaviour and integrate it into human experiences," says Flemings.

Tim Schigel, chief executive officer, ShareThis, says, "Sharing is the core of what we do at ShareThis, and we've always believed that it is one of the most important behaviours online, one that has the potential to power the larger internet economy."

Based in Palo Alto, CA, with offices in New York and Cincinnati, ShareThis is a privately-held company with funding from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Blue Chip Venture Company, DFJ Mercury, Illinois Ventures, Matthew Pritzker Company, Queen City Angels, RPM Ventures and Reservoir Partners.

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