Sharing has always been big on the web and looks set to only get bigger as more and more sites offer up buttons such as the Facebook Like, Twitter Tweet and Google +1 buttons.
ShareThis who offer their own very popular share button have gone to the trouble of investigating just how big sharing is on the web. Looking across the sharing and clicking habits of more than 300 million people a month who pass links with a ShareThis button on over a million websites (producing 7 billion pageviews a month), a few things stood out.
Overall, the study showed that sharing now produces an estimated 10 percent of all internet traffic and 31 percent of referral traffic to sites from search and social. Search is still about twice as big though.
The most prominent finding from the study showed that when it came to sharing Facebook dominates as it accounts for 38 percent of all sharing referral traffic. The next highest referrer in the study was email which accounted for 17 percent. These figures relate to the percentages that actually clicked through. The raw sharing numbers provide an even more impressive picture. It shows that Facebook makes up 56 percent of all shared content, whilst email is once again second with just 15 percent.
Whilst Facebook may have a much greater share than any of its competitors, Twitter is actually ahead in terms of actual clicks. Whilst Facebook links are clicked on an average of 4.3 times, Twitter links are clicked on 4.9 times each. A relatively low 1.7 clicks per emailed link shows the ever increasing prominence of social media platforms.
The study does however indicate that sharing links isn’t as viral as it may initially suggest. It shows that a link is much less likely to be clicked on beyond its immediate audience. This means that if someone you share a link with tries to share it amongst their network, the likelihood of it being clicked on is quite low.
It was also shown that people are often only interested in one particular category with 80 percent of people sharing links in only one category, whilst more than 70 percent of people will only ever click on one category. Facebook was shown to be top when sharing entertainment and shopping links, whilst email and Twitter are most prominent in business and health.
This appears to be a really useful study that offers some insightful figures on the effectiveness of social media, and shows the prominence of sharing on the web. Do you agree with the findings? Or are there important areas that the study has failed to cover? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…