Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

Aug 22, 2014 | 1,655 views | by Ritu Sharma
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To make any content marketing campaign successful, it is essential for marketers to know which type of content is shared most by the people and where. Widgets showing shares, pins, +1s, and tweets have become the basics of determining how well the copy is written.

A collaborative study by BuzzSumo and Fractl is the answer to all your curious content marketing related questions. Let's dig deeper into the findings:

After analyzing one million most-shared articles from the first six month on 2014, it was revealed that the articles got more than 2.6 billion shares on five social platforms. The number equates to two shares per person in China and eight shares per man, woman, and child in the US.

Which articles were shared the most?

  • The 9 Oddest Job Interview Questions Asked at Tech Companies in 2011 (via Mashable)
  • What Kind Of Dog Are You (via BuzzFeed)
  • How Y'all, Youse and You Guys Talk – Interactive Graphic (via New York Times)
  • 2 People Described The Same Person To A Forensic Artist And This Is What Happened (via Upworthy)
  • UNACCOUNTABLE: The High Cost of the Pentagon's Bad Bookkeeping (via Reuters)
  • 10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12 (via Huffington Post)
  • Miley Cyrus — This Spread Eagle Should Be Extinct (via TMZ)

To get more into details, team applied Alchemy API for calculating the sentiments of 500 most shared articles on each social networking platform and also analysed the relevant keywords in headings of these articles.

1. Network Engagement

Popularity has Nothing to do with Engagement

It was found out that the size of the network is not always related to the engagement of user, when it comes to sharing. The four popular social media platforms, in order are:

  1. Facebook
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Pinterest
  4. Twitter

(Google+ wasn't ranked)

After analyzing 2.6 billion shares generated by articles, the most engaged platforms came out to be:

  1. Facebook
  2. Twitter
  3. Google+
  4. Pinterest
  5. LinkedIn

Social Network Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

Social Network Sentiment Analysis

When Alchemy API was applied to analyze text, attitudes, and opinions of articles shared on each platform, interesting facts were revealed:

Most Positive – Maximum number of articles on Pinterest and LinkedIn were shared with a positive message.

Even Distribution of Emotions – Twitter and Google+ had nearly an even average distribution of positive & negative sentiments in articles.

Most Neutral or Negative – Facebook has the largest number of shares but sentiment analysis was more negative upon removing articles from top publishers Upworthy, ViralNova, and BuzzFeed.

social network 1 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

2. Publishers Dominating Social Media

None of the publishers have become omnipresent on all channels. Here are the interesting findings to help you figure out the publishers dominating social platforms.

Sharing Success

Not event a single publisher dominated every social media network. Multiple publishers are succeeding on different platforms.

Considering the sheer share volume, BuzzFeed was the winner with more than 400 million total shares, followed by Huffington Post that had 250 million shares.

A single publisher is not successful in pushing the content on every platform. The most-shared were:

  • Facebook – BuzzFeed
  • Twitter – Mashable
  • Google+ – MSN
  • Pinterest – BuzzFeed
  • LinkedIn – Mashable

Most publishers got less than 5,000 shares per article but the two that garnered an average of 60,000+ shares per article were ViralNova and Upworthy.

Share Disparity

It was also observed that there's a huge gap between the share volumes of publishers at the top and everyone else. 80% publishers earned less than 25 million shares for top articles, which is less than 1/16th of BuzzFeed's share volume.

Publisher Sentiments

While BuzzFeed and Upworthy shared more neutral articles, Mashable published more positive articles.

Social Network 2 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

social network 3 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

The profile of news organizations and BuzzFeed reflects the sentiment analysis of Facebook. So, it can be said that Facebook can become a favorite social media network for news sites.

3. Words Which Work the Most

Of all the social networks, Facebook receives the highest number of articles of varied diversity such as entertainment, news, and commercial. Here's the genre of most popular articles on each network:

  • Twitter – Pop culture
  • Google+ – World and industry news
  • Pinterest – Food, home, health, and beauty
  • LinkedIn – Professional development and business

There are no certain topics, words, or angles that transcend all publishers or communities. The research did not come to a conclusion on this regard. However, there were a few exceptions when headlines of the articles were studied:

Knowledge-based Verbs

Heading with action words related to learning were found in all the headlines. Some of these words were – understand, know, think, prove, and believe.

Positive Adjectives

Positive descriptors such as hilarious, happiest, cutest, greatest, and adorable were used more frequently than the negative ones.

Photos

This particular word was dominant on every social network except LinkedIn. It means, content offering high quality images gets a privilege.

You can download the complete Whitepaper here:

http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hub/424019/file-1493427396-pdf/Publisher_Engagement_Analysis_-_Whitepaper.pdf?t=1408630292047

So, you want your article to be seen at one of these publishing platforms? But, is that going to happen when there are several hundreds of writers aspiring for the same?

Fractl surveyed more than 500 digital publishers to find out how they want to be pitched and what you can do to improve your content placement pitches.

Survey revealed that an average worker receives around 12,000 emails per year and top-tier editors get double of that amount, which means 100 pitches in their inbox every day and 26k every year. However, the interesting part is that some of these writers reported that they never cover a story on the basis of something that was sent through pitch.

On an average, 45% of the writers publish one story per day and 8% get pitched more than 100 times a day. So, these writers get 100, 250, or 500 pitches a week for five story spots.

Story 1 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

If you consider only 11% writers who said that they "often" write a story based on the content sent through pitches are taken into account, the email clutter will suddenly seem to be huge.

Story 2 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

When asked, "Would you rather be pitched ideas that you can collaborate on or get a finished asset"? 70% publishers preferred collaboration.

On the basis of feedback received from writers, there are four options a perfect piece of content might have:

  1. Exclusive research
  2. Breaking news
  3. Emotional story
  4. Other

The image below shows the weightage each of the piece has:

Story 3 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

Articles, infographics, and mixed-media pieces also get the attention of publishers. These are followed by – data visualizations, images, videos, and interactive maps.

And what are things publishers want the least of?

  • Press release
  • Interactive projects
  • Quiz
  • Widget
  • Badge
  • Flipbook

Story 4 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

Getting your Email Noticed by Publisher

64% of writers believe that it is important to establish a personal connection with the publisher before pitching.

Digital publishers are the most active people online, so networking with them prior to sending a pitch will be easier. Chase them on social networking sites or even some of them might have blogs.

What is the leading way to get pitched?

81% writers prefer that you send the pitch through email. Here are the numbers:

Story 5 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

The Key Takeaway

Triple check spelling/grammar before pitching. 85% of respondents said that they may delete a pitch on the basis of these errors without considering the content quality.

Words such as incredible, revolutionary, pitch, stunning, believe, dramatic can also get your pitch mail into trash.

While crafting email, 455 suggested to keep it short and to-the-point (<100) while 42% were okay with an explanation of less than 200 words.

Story 6 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

Choose an attention-grabbing subject line because 85% of writers open an email based on the subject line.

story 77 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

The headline that was preferred the most was: Content Title, Type: "The Selfie Phenomenon (Parallax)

Story 8 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

An interesting statistic in the subject works well since it is descriptive and leverage on the Information-Gap theory by George Loewenstein.

Timing is the last important step. 69% writers preferred to receive a pitch in the morning hours while 22% in afternoon and 9% in the evening.

Story 9 Be a Winner at Social Engagement: Study of 2.6 Billion Shares is Here to Reveal the Secret!

By implementing the data of both the studies, you will sure be able to reach out to millions of readers, receive great number of shares, and of course, get the attention of the best publishers.

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Ritu from PageTraffic is a qualified Google Adwords Professional and Content Head at PageTraffic. She has been the spear head for many successful Search Marketing Campaigns and currently overseas Content Marketing operations of Page Traffic in India.