What is the future of sharing? Study [infographic]
A very good event this morning at London Social Media Week run by digital agency Beyond on the Future of Sharing. It presented research that is perfectly distilled here into a very decent infographic. The focus ws on what is being dubbed “frictionless sharing”, which with the introduction of Facebook OpenGraph we are seeing from brands like Spotify, Ticketmaster, AirBnB. Soon a lot more brands we join that small cadre.
This shift to frictionless sharing has proven to be polarising with some saying that sharing is being ruined by oversharing, but it is early days. We are still at the very start of this change in how we share and have barely dipped our feet in the water let alone taken the plunge.
These competing views formed the basis of the Beyond study, which also asked if there was some middle ground — with the greater emphasis being placed on making sharing smarter.
The research results shed interesting light on what the future holds for consumer behaviour online and, not surprisingly, present challenges and opportunities for brands:
A “sharing burnout effect” does exist with sharing behaviour peaking for users between 3-12 months, while social network usage (amount of times logged in per week), grows continually on a per-user basis from 3 months – 2+ years.
We’re getting annoyed. As part of sharing burnout, 61% of people report feeling “annoyed” by applications that automatically post content, and the longer people have Facebook accounts the more likely that they are to be annoyed by applications that post automatically to their profiles.
We still continue to share. A lot. Despite consumer frustration, 67% of people have done at least one of the following things: allowed an application to post automatically to their profile; listened to a song that was automatically shared (Spotify, etc); or read an automatically shared article (online reader).
The rise of sub groups. Overall, only 40% of people have created subgroups to selectively share posts, but 62% said that that the idea appeals to them.
More topline stats:
1. 23% of people say that they are overwhelmed with the amount of posts shared with them in social networks.
2. 34% of people who log-into Facebook a few times per week or less are overwhelmed by the amount of sharing content compared to 21% of people who log into Facebook at least once per day.
3. 60% of people say that they’d willing to post about products/services on Facebook if they were offered a deal or discount.
4. 64% say that “informing friends” is their top reason for sharing content.
5. 43% say sharing personal milestones is important, making it the biggest category of content people share; 30% will share planning a trip; 28% share purchasing a ticket to an event; 27% share a donation to a charity or getting a deal from a deal site; and 23% would share a purchase from an online retailer such as Amazon.
Click to enlarge, more data below:
Looking at the above results, a few insights can be extracted that offer a view of what the “future of sharing” looks like:
- The rate of shared content online will eventually plateau. A sharing burnout currently exists, with the individual rate of sharing peaking in the first 6 months of setting up a new social account, despite usage (rate an individual logs in) steadily increasing over time. In short, users become more passive the longer they are on a social network, which means brands will need to find a way to keep their fan base active and engaged over time.
- Frictionless sharing is here to stay, but it will need to get much, much better. The majority of people are currently experimenting with these apps, but there is a growing backlash. If done right, ultimately just about everything we do in a day will have the capacity to be shared online, but with accuracy and without needing to actively think about it.
- Segmenting your social networks into disparate friend groups to selectively share content (ie. the Google+ model) is likely to catch on – but needs to be simple to manage for users
- Tried and true marketing tactics will continue to fuel the sharing evolution – discounts & free giveaways will spur users to share brand content, particularly as it relates to location based services.
- Sharing will expand to include transactions as well as life events and personal achievements to define a new action-oriented sharing culture. The most common type of content that people currently share are status updates about life achievements (89% of people posted this type of content at least a few times per month). But, looking ahead, respondents indicated that reaching a personal milestone was the most likely sharing activity they would do in the future if the sharing was made easier (ie. via frictionless sharing).
- The personal motivations for sharing content will remain the same. The top 3 motivations for sharing content are to inform your friends, express a point of view and humour. You could argue these have always been the three biggest sharing drivers.