Q2 2014 Consumer Sharing Trends Report Reveals New Insights Into the Devices, Channels and Topics that Drive Social Sharing

The “Year of Mobile” has been upon the industry for some time now. Despite this, it seems that consumers still haven’t integrated mobile into their lives at the expected pace. However, the Q2 2014 Consumer Sharing Trends Report which we released today provides evidence that we haven’t been crying wolf; mobile stock is finally soaring. The rate at which consumers have adapted to mobile and social has been astonishing, and our report takes a look at the devices, channels, topics and demographics driving the mobile sharing revolution. We offer actionable insights to help marketers and publishers engage their audiences who are sharing on the go.

As reported by ComScore just two weeks ago, mobile platforms combined to account for 60% of total digital media time spent, up from 50% a year ago. And mobile apps accounted for more than half of all digital media time spent in May at 51%. The Consumer Sharing Trends Report analyzes consumer sharing behavior from Q2 2014 across nearly every social channel on desktop and mobile devices. When you look at mobile vs. desktop, mobile sharing is dramatically outpacing desktop sharing: in Q2, sharing from smartphones and tablets grew more than 30%, while sharing from the desktop declined 5%.

Looking across channels, Pinterest and Twitter have done the best job harnessing mobile users. While half of all shares on Facebook are mobile, that number jumps to 75% of shares on Pinterest and Twitter. Additionally, there is a clear preference for channels based on different devices. Pinners are more active on tablets whereas tweeters flock to smartphones. Consumers also show different sharing behaviors depending on the operating system. Android users are more active on Facebook, whereas iOS users are more active on Pinterest and Twitter.

As you’re looking to reach consumers on these channels, consider this: Facebook is the place to share about politics and parenting, Twitter tends to be all about business and sports, and Pinterest leans heavily toward shopping. Mobile users are also nearly twice as likely to engage with CPG content compared to any other category.

Mobile may be a millennial-centric phenomenon, but tablets are gaining popularity among older users. Tablet sharing among users aged 55 and up nearly doubled since last quarter. This quarter, 43% of social activity on tablets was driven by users 55+, compared to 21% on smartphones and 34% on desktop. Social engagement on mobile devices grew 13% among African Americans and 6% among Hispanics. For African Americans, smartphone adoption was a major contributor to mobile growth. Hispanic audiences have been particularly receptive of tablets, on which they shared 8% more than last quarter.

In addition to the mobile trends, we analyzed overall consumer sharing behavior and saw similar growth patterns from the first quarter of 2014. Pinterest and Twitter are still gaining – together, they stole just over 2% of Facebook’s share of social activity last quarter. However, Facebook continues to dominate sharing activity with a total of 64% in Q2. Sharing via email continues to decline, albeit more modestly this quarter, with 0.1% decline in Q2. Channels such as Blogger and Tumblr also won out this quarter with 0.6% growth and 0.3% growth, respectively.

Based on this quarter’s findings, here are a few tips for marketers to turn this information into action:

Diversify Your Channels:

 The social media landscape continues to diversify, and so should your media strategies. The volume play doesn’t mean as much as it used to. Facebook may own 60% of shares, but Pinterest, Twitter, Blogger and the like have proven themselves to be powerful voice boxes for highly engaged audiences.

Align Your Content:

Different platforms lend themselves to different conversations. Twitter, with its fluid real-time feed, is the sensible forum for news and sports. Tablets are tactile, and the device of choice for users looking to swipe through Pins and videos. Master the characteristics of the various channels and devices, and align your media and content strategies accordingly.

Go Mobile (If You Haven’t Already):

By now, mobile has cemented itself as a key platform in the social web. It’s never been a more critical (and auspicious) time to develop a strong mobile strategy – users are more social and more engaged on their handhelds than anywhere else, making mobile a prime foundation to amplify your messaging.

Engage Shoppers in the Aisle:

An unspoken and often untapped advantage of mobile is its proclivity toward ecommerce. Users are generally more engaged with ecommerce on devices they can take with them to the store. Reaching these users heightens the possibility of captivating their interests at the peak of purchase consideration.

Know Your Audience:

Certain audiences have been especially receptive to the mobile movement, and it’s not just because they’re buying more devices – they’re more active and engaged on them. Leverage mobile to amplify your messaging with key demographics.

Sharing is and always will be a powerful indicator of interest and intent. The brands and publishers who seek out actionable insights into sharing behavior across channels and devices will successfully drive content and brand engagement.

For more on Consumer Sharing Trends from ShareThis, check out our previous reports here. For a PDF copy of the report, please email pr@sharethis.com.

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