23% of Social Media Messages Link to Content

AOL and Nielsen Online released the “Content is the Fuel of the Social Web” report in April 2011, analyzing over 10,000 social media messages to explore how consumers share content online.  The data offers marketers insight regarding the best ways to advertise and reach consumers online, including on social sites. Overall, 93% of internet users turn to email to share content, while 89% use social networks and 82% use blogs.

However, web users employ different platforms to share online content when interacting with different groups of people.

  • 92% of users share content with friends via social network
  • email is the most popular way to share content with family (86%) and colleagues (26%)
  • message boards (51%) or blogs (41%) are more popular for sharing online content with the general public

Other highlights from the report:

  • 53% of time spent on the Internet is directly attributable to content consumption
  • Nearly one-quarter (23%) of all social media messages contain links to content
  • 47% of industry specific social media messages include links to content; 60% of these messages include a product or brand name mention

The types of content shared via social media messages were mainly:

  • links to published content (at a separate URL, for example a news or media site) – 60%
  • embedded content (enabling users to share content without leaving the social platform) – 36%

Corporate websites, by contrast, made up a very small portion (4%) of content shares. However, eMarketer states that “by actively being a part of the conversation on social platforms like Facebook, or having branded entertainment content available, marketers can leverage the popularity of embedded content and still get their message out.”

Visit AOL’s research page to download the full study.