NEW YORK: Only 7% of consumer actions in response to brand-related content on social media take the form of actually sharing this material, a study has shown.

Tania Yuki, Founder/CEO of social content analytics firm Shareablee, reported this finding in What Makes Brands' Social Content Shareable on Facebook? An Analysis that Demonstrates the Power of Online Trust and Attention – a paper published in the winter 2015–2016 edition of the Journal of Advertising Research (JAR).

"From January to October 2015, US brands published 35m posts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, sparking 65bn actions with social audiences (i.e., comments, shares, retweets, etc.)," Yuki asserted.

"Yet just 7% of these actions involved sharing of a brand's content … despite what is increasingly recognised as the value of shared content for building brand equity."

Journal of Advertising Research

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Based on an assessment of the 2,000 most-shared posts during a 12-month period on Facebook, and a survey of over 10,000 social-media users, she suggested marketers should take a more considered approach.

"Consumers are taking more actions than ever with brands and publishers across social channels, but … more conscious design of posting strategy is needed if brands are to reap the full benefits of social media and its viral potential," said Yuki.

Andrew Katz, Shareablee's Senior Director/Enterprise Sales, dug into the same data sources while speaking at the Association of National Advertisers' (ANA) 2015 Digital and Social Media Conference East.

"What makes content shareable? And how can you build your content towards the right people to engage them in sharing?" he asked. (For more information on his presentation, including further tips for brands, read Warc's exclusive report: What makes content shareable on social media.)

In answering that question, Katz revealed that utility was the most powerful driver of sharing among female consumers: "Content that makes the sharer look intelligent to others was the strongest driver of social currency."

For men, however, usefulness was not as important. Their focus, instead, was placed upon humour: "Content that makes the sharer look funny to others was the strongest driver of social currency," said Katz.

Data sourced from Journal of Advertising Research; additional content by Warc staff