Content Sharing Takes on a Personal Branding Dimension

33Across-Content-Sharing-Trends-Apr2013The types of content that people share may be driven more by ego than anything else, finds 33Across in a newly released study. Examining 450 of its largest publishers across 24 content categories, 33Across found that topics with high share rates often have low clickback (link clicks/shares) rates, meaning that a significant proportion of readers share these links, but few people read them. The researchers found that these content types generally were “esoteric,” suggesting that the intent of sharing revolves more around “personal branding” (ego?) than practicality.

In other words, people want to seem knowledgeable and learned, so share articles that are of interest to only a small, educated niche. That would explain why sharing rates are lowest for topics such as Men’s Media (1%) and shopping (<1%), and highest for science articles (12%). But clickback rates for science articles are low (at 9%, compared to the average of 24%), and much higher for categories such as celebrity content (at 40%). Needless to say, entertainment and celebrity content isn’t high on the “personal branding” agenda, with sharing rates for those content types at 2.1% and 1.7%, respectively.

The researchers also reveal that news and politics have the highest clickback rates, of 86% and 77%, respectively, positing that motivations for sharing this content is to get credit for “breaking” news to one’s social circle.

The study concludes that publishers need to consider not only what content is shared, but the rate at which people click or share those shared links. And the data seems to show that the content people think makes them look good to their social circle isn’t always the content that’s most popular.

About the Data: 33Across examined 450 of its largest publishers across 24 content categories. Sharing rate is calculated by dividing the number of shares by the number of pageviews for a given site. This normalizes the data to provide an apples-to-apples comparison across categories. Clickback rate is calculated by dividing the number of clicks on all shared links for a web site by the number of total shares for the web site. For example, if site xyz.com has 1,000 total shares and 500 clicks on the shared links, then the clickback rate would be 50%.