AUSTIN: Users of social media are most likely to be motivated to share online content if it is interesting, important or funny, according to a new global study of social media usage. 

In a poll of 12,420 global internet users conducted by Ipsos Open Thinking Exchange, the global innovation centre of market research firm Ipsos, 61% of those who indicated they had shared some content online over the past month said their main reason was because they wanted "to share interesting things".

Wanting "to share important things" and also "to share funny things" were tied at 43% as the next most popular reasons for sharing.

Sharing important things was the top reason in nearly all countries surveyed except Saudi Arabia, where 65% indicated their main reason was to let "others know what I believe in and who I really am". The global average for this reason was 37%.

Regional differences emerged from the survey with respondents in China, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey topping the list of countries where there was willingness to share interesting content. Respondents in Japan, Germany and Saudi Arabia, occupied the bottom of the list.

In other findings, 30% of global users indicated they shared content to recommend a product, service or movie while 29% said it was "to add my support to a cause, an organisation or a belief".

"To share unique things" motivated 26%, "to let others know what I'm doing" prompted 22% while 20% wanted to add a thread or conversation.

Data sourced from Ipsos OTX; additional content by Warc staff