The amount of digital content people are sharing globally has increased ninefold - to nearly two trillion gigabytes - and is predicted to continue growing exponentially. Sharing is the connective thread of the social web, it is one of the most innate human behaviors and sharing online has become second nature to consumers. As such, it has opened new markets for publishers and given advertisers greater confidence in digital media.
In 2013, we saw tremendous growth in sharing content online. Facebook still leads the pack among sharing channels, with 66% year to date growth in the amount of content shared, but we also saw Pinterest and LinkedIn surge. For example, if you look at sharing behavior among moms, Pinterest is nearly five times more popular for sharing content than Twitter. We expect these growth trends to continue. So what does it all mean for publishers, brands, advertisers and consumers?
Sharing is the most powerful signal of consumer interest at any given time, on any device. What's even more powerful is how much those who share influence their social networks and the general population. Not only does sharing indicate interest, it also drives purchase and revenue. The stakes (and opportunities) are higher than ever in an increasingly complex sharing economy where advertisers and publishers need the right tools to succeed. To take advantage of the power of sharing in 2014, marketers will need the following to ensure they are getting the most out of their campaigns:
Cross device insights
Social intelligence at scale
With this in mind, we see the following trends leading the digital sharing conversation in 2014:
REAL Real Time Marketing: As we saw when Oreos tweeted their now famous response to the Super Bowl blackout in 2013, brands who are part of the social conversation authentically and immediately can have a lasting impact. While every event, news moment and viral video has the potential to become a national conversation, marketers can't be expected to spend every second of every day preparing to react. With the technology to identify social trends as they happen, ShareThis will be at the forefront of real time marketing in 2014. Our vision is to not only help brands react to trends in real-time, but also predict them before they even unfold.
It's a Multiscreen World: Digital is reshaping the advertising game, but mobile has changed how consumers play. Finding, consuming, and sharing information regardless of device or channel has real economic implications. In 2013 we found that the mobile web is twice as social as the desktop, meaning consumers are nearly twice as likely to click and share content on their mobile devices. The strongest growth in sharing will be propelled by this shift to a multiscreen world, where desktop and mobile experiences blend together. With insights into billions of shares across devices and channels, ShareThis helps publishers and advertisers understand the connections between content, consumers, their devices and their sharing habits in order to navigate the ever-changing digital landscape. Cross device marketing is leading to entirely new relationships with consumers and the extent of that relationship remains to be seen in 2014.
Empowering Brands with Social Intelligence: The stakes for marketers to deliver results in an increasingly complex environment are growing. Sharing can help marketers shape their social strategies, but they need sophisticated social intelligence that delivers actionable insight across channels and platforms. With billions of shares monthly, consumers are connecting with each other and brands, and those who share have a major impact. As a result, brands and advertisers have the opportunity to create deeper relationships with their audiences. Knowing where and how people share what interests them - beyond Facebook and Twitter - will lead to more meaningful connections. Understanding today's nuanced consumer and taking action based on relevant insight will lead to better engagement and, ultimately, better results. For example, financial services clients who are using ShareThis' social intelligence to plan their campaigns are seeing results three times better than the industry average. Marketers using our data in the gaming and auto industries see two times more engagement with consumers than other campaigns.
As we bid farewell to the year of the Twitter IPO and a $1.1 billion Tumblr acquisition that showed us that the value of content and social media is just beginning to take shape, we look forward to 2014, which promises continued growth and prosperity for the digital ecosystem and sharing economy.