Facebook dominates online sharing in US

16 December 2011

NEW YORK: Facebook is responsible for a majority of the "sharing" carried out between US consumers on the web, according to a new study.

Clearspring, the digital services provider, has released data generated from its AddThis tool, which tracks the viral spread of information across 11m domains, and reaches 1.2bn unique users.

Overall, it reported that Facebook held a 52.1% volume share when it came to consumers passing on information about everything from notable events to videos, ad campaigns and products.

A primary reason for the site's dominance was the option simply to "like" items such as posts, pictures and comments, as well as to send links to photos, status updates or pieces of content.

"People are 'Liking' stuff all the time," Greg Cypes, Clearspring's director of product, told the New York Times. "A Facebook share is much more impactful for driving traffic."

Twitter, the microblog, generated 13.5% of the same kind of peer-to-peer interaction, a 577% increase year on year. Its contribution hit 52% in Japan among the properties tracked there by Clearspring.

Other fast-growing platforms on this metric included Tumblr, the blogging service, which registered an improvement of 1,300%. StumbleUpon was also up by 320% on this measure.

While Google's "+1" recommendations button saw a 373% expansion, it has now reached a "plateau". Indeed, the total amount of sharing using tools provided by Google fell by 8% year on year.

More positively for the company, its Chrome web browser overtook Mozilla's Firefox in terms of the volume of information spread, and is quickly catching Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Elsewhere, Digg's figures declined by 47.7% on an annual basis, and MySpace endured a 56.9% contraction.

Sharing via mobile devices rose six times over year on year. Apple's iPad tablet also witnessed a 598% increase, and actually surpassed the iPhone on this measure in June.

Among the people and subjects securing major traction were Osama bin Laden, Steve Jobs, Hurricane Irene and the Japanese tsunami, the study added.

Data sourced from Clearspring/New York Times; additional content by Warc staff