Social Sharing Goes Mobile: What This Means for Today’s Communication Pros
By James Citron, CEO and Co-Founder, Mogreet
With more than 90 billion pieces of content shared each month, the growth of social sharing is an opportunity that today’s marketers must prioritize in their communications strategies or risk losing ground to third-party websites and content providers who more easily enable content sharing.
When consumers find news or content that strikes a chord, they want to share it immediately with friends, family and social networks.
In fact, according to a report by ShareThis, Rubinson Partners Inc. and Starcom MediaVest Group, social sharing accounts for more than 10 percent of all Internet traffic, which represents nearly half the volume of search.
When it comes to sharing content, it is no surprise that Facebook, with more than 700 million users, ranked first with 38 percent of clicked links, followed by other channels such as bookmarking and blogs (34 percent), email (17 percent), and Twitter (17 percent). These sites naturally lend themselves to social sharing.
In 2012, there are two key trends re-shaping the social-sharing landscape:
- The proliferation and use of smartphones, driving consumers to share content with anyone in their address book, and
- A consumer shift away from one-to-many “broadcast” sharing with all or most social-networking contacts to more selective, one-to-few “narrowcast” sharing with a more intimate audience.
Smartphone Growth = Game Changer
Industry experts predict global smartphone sales will top 614 million units in 2012, a massive 36 percent increase from 2011. With smartphones comes greater functionality and mobile apps that enable sharing.
Up until now, the majority of social sharing via Facebook, Twitter, +1, StumbleUpon, Redditt, etc., happened through a browser. In 2012, we will reach the proverbial “tipping point” with social sharing on mobile, driven by a “perfect storm” of technology innovation and consumer usage. On one front, the convergence of smart mobile devices with 4G and other high-speed mobile broadband networks means faster, easier delivery of mobile services. On another front, current consumer trends indicate heavy usage patterns, such as today’s average teen sending more than 3,400 texts per month and a recent Yahoo report that consumers spend 29 percent more time watching videos on their mobile devices.
The result? We will see a dramatic increase in the use of mobile phones for all types of sharing activities from texting to photo sharing to streaming music and video.
The problem for marketers is that there was no platform available to enable social sharing via the ever‑present mobile phone. Until now.
New, disruptive social-sharing technology has emerged that enables users to instantly share any content through their mobile phone, moving away from content sharing by email to sharing by text message.
As Facebook walls, Twitter feeds, LinkedIn Group pages and email inboxes become increasingly crowded, this technology enables a more immediate, personalized sharing experience. News articles, marketing content, videos, pictures, songs and much more can now be delivered directly to the text message inbox of any mobile device, regardless of wireless carrier or device type. Plus, this technology offers analytics for websites and content publishers that provide valuable insight into their online and mobile audiences.
Why is this important? We know that websites with social-sharing plugins for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc. realize as much as a sevenfold increase in social mentions and posts than those sites that do not include them. But did you know that the same dynamic holds true for mobile?
In 2011, websites and content publishers that enabled sharing across online and mobile properties saw an estimated increase in sharing by 25 percent. In 2012, this number is expected to rise, as websites and content publishers deploy innovative technologies to grow their mobile audience and drive high‑quality referral traffic to their sites and applications.
Mobile’s Secret Sauce = Narrowcast Versus Broadcast
The way people share socially is changing, too.
In the online world, as privacy and personalization continues to grow in importance, there is a direct effect on social sharing. It is evolving away from one-to-many broadcast tools (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to one-to-few narrowcast options (e.g., Facebook lists, Google Circles, Path, moShare etc.). People are increasingly looking for opportunities to share their personal photos, articles, images, thoughts and location with their closest friends and family, instead of sharing with everyone in their social network.
Narrowcasting is very important when considering the mobile channel.
Most people are extremely attached to their mobile phone. They have personalized it. They store contact information, snap and store pictures, interact with apps, and much more. The mobile phone has become a personalized content device. If forced to choose between losing their wallet or mobile phone, most people would gladly hand over their wallet.
Given the personal, intimate nature of people’s mobile phones, no one wants to receive non-personalized broadcast messages, especially from a website or content publisher. Consumers look to mobile marketing to provide them customized content, quickly and directly. As mobile marketing continues to grow, brands and media marketers are looking to find new ways to provide highly engaged audiences the tools to share their content via mobile applications.
By giving online and mobile audiences the tools they need to share content, websites or content publishers will greatly improve the “virality” of their content and potential purchases by enabling it to be shared on the most important device in people’s lives: their mobile phone.
As social sharing continues to expand into mobile—and people’s preferences evolve toward more intimate, immediate sharing of content—these types of tools will be critical to ensuring private, personal, selective sharing of content by consumers with their friends, family, and followers.
James Citron is the CEO and Co-Founder of Mogreet, the leading mobile video-based mobile marketing platform in the US and developer of moShare, the first mobile-sharing platform designed and developed to enable personalized one-to-one sharing of content via text message. You can follow Mr. Citron on Twitter @JamesCitron. For more information, visit http://mogreet.com/.