Why Do Consumers Share Content Online?

Adobe-Motivations-Sharing-Content-Online-Dec2015Almost two-thirds (64%) of consumers surveyed across 6 countries – including three-quarters in the US – share content online, per new data shared by Adobe from its State of Content report [pdf]. Among those who share external content such as articles and photos, the top motivation for doing so is to make people laugh (37%), per the report, reflecting separate results indicating an affinity for humorous and entertaining content from brands.

In fact, 70% of respondents (75% in the US) agreed that when companies are funny it helps them be more relatable, and two-thirds (71% in the US) believe that content plays an entertaining role in their life. Of note, Ipsos research from 2013 suggested that Americans are more likely to share “funny” than “important” content on social media.

Beyond making people laugh, other top motivations for sharing external content include:

  • Raising awareness on a particular issue (29%);
  • Showing friends content they think they will enjoy (27%);
  • Sharing knowledge on a particular subject (21%); and
  • Connecting with people who feel similarly to them (20%).

Meanwhile, the most important personal driver for sharing content (either self-created or external, in this case) is connecting with people, according to the study’s results.

That’s interesting in light of separate survey results which indicate that 57% of respondents (66% in the US) feel that technology has changed how they interact with people over the past 10 years. Two-thirds agree that compared to 5 years ago it’s now easier to share photos/pictures/posts with their friends and family, and 61% agree that it’s easer to stay up-to-date with what friends and family are doing. Even so, technology and content can have an adverse effect, with 68% agreeing that young people spend too much time now on screens as opposed to in-person interaction.

In other results from the survey (see here for previously-reported data):

  • Most consumers will switch devices or stop viewing content altogether if the content is too long, takes too long to load, or doesn’t display well on their device;
  • Two-thirds (73% in the US) feel that companies should focus on what they are uniquely good at to be authentic;
  • 72% (75% in the US) prefer when companies select a few channels to communicate with customers and do it well;
  • While 73% globally are open to suggestions or predictive recommendations from brands, 62% believe that recommendations based on past behavior don’t respect privacy;
  • In order to improve recommendations they see, consumers are most comfortable sharing music they’ve listened to and videos they’ve watched, and least comfortable sharing their location or birthday; and
  • Almost three-quarters globally (and 82% in the US) believe that the quality of content today is good or excellent.

About the Data: The results are based on a survey of 12,169 consumers across 6 countries, all of whom are at least 18 years old and use at least one digital device. The survey was fielded September 12-29, 2015. The geographic breakdown was as follows: US (2,008); UK (2,007); France (2,114); Germany (2,010); Japan (2,014); and Australia (2,016).

External content refers to:

  • Topical articles/news content;
  • Humorous content;
  • Photos from others (share, pin, etc.);
  • Videos others have created (includes YouTube, Periscope, Vine); and
  • Reviews others have written (movies, products, businesses, etc.).