Why is your Facebook feed covered with BuzzFeed posts?

Because funny and informative content is king

CANNES, FRANCE, June 18, 2014 — We all know people share content on social media, but why? What do people share most in Johannesburg versus Jakarta? Do people prefer to share content that is educational or entertaining?

As companies struggle to create content that is relevant and inspires sharing, Social@Ogilvy and SurveyMonkey teamed up to study what, why and how makes social media users share.

In a 16-country online survey of over 6,500 respondents with social media profiles, conducted by Social@Ogilvy and SurveyMonkey, results favoured content that is humorous and informative – with people expressing a desire to share in support of a specific cause or issue the most.

Emotion is a key driver in why we share content.

Overall, 13% of respondents feel that content sharing helps to define their personality - most notably so in countries where tradition still plays a prominent cultural role: Hong Kong (24%), China (22%), Poland (20%), Turkey (18%) and Japan (15%).  The study also revealed an overwhelming 36% of those surveyed say they mainly share content to promote a cause or issue they feel strongly about.

And, while close to half (49%) in the countries we surveyed view content sharing as a means to feel useful and thoughtful, it is the Chinese (30%) who report a feeling of ‘creativity’ when sharing through social media the most.

A blend of ‘edutainment’ hits the sweet spot in what we share.

The study revealed that informative or educational content is shared more frequently among mature markets (43%), while emerging markets across the globe drive conversation via funny or entertaining content (40%).

Contrary to this trend, both Indonesia and Mexico report sharing informational content over any other (68% and 58%, respectively), while Hong Kong leads in shares of funny content (over half at 52%) – closely followed by UK (44%), Japan (43%) and Poland (43%).

It’s not the source of content that counts, but how interesting the content is.

Four in ten (40%) respondents say that the source of the content is not important as long as it is interesting. Similarly, content volume is not a deal breaker– only 7% of those surveyed cite too much volume as the most off-putting content they see.

Country barriers to freedom of speech and press play a crucial role in the type of source that content sharers engage with and trust. Asian markets (27%) say they are more likely to use content from established media outlets as a way to share their own perspective, compared to that of their European counterparts (19%).

Higher quality branded content is needed in order spark user engagement.

With emerging markets deemed an overcrowded ad space by social media users, high-quality content proves even more important. In emerging markets, a third surveyed are open to keeping the amount of advertising they see within social media the same or even increase the amount they see(34%), with Mexico, Poland and China topping the list (55%, 51% and 52% respectively).

By contrast, more than seven in ten social media users in Japan (74%), Korea (73%) and the United States (83%) say they are overwhelmed by the amount of advertising. Americans and Japanese are also the most likely to give a poor rating on the quality of branded content, and are less inclined to regularly watch or share such content.

“As brands become content creators, it is important for them to understand what motivates people to share,” said Thomas Crampton, Global Managing Director of Social@Ogilvy. “These survey results clearly show that companies must shift towards higher quality content and adjust strategy according to the local market. Simple translation does not work.”

“The discovery of why consumers are sharing content has been fascinating. We’ve seen some startling differences in how emerging and developed markets approach content,” said Bennett Porter, Vice President, Marketing Communications SurveyMonkey. “It’s fascinating to see that the majority of social media users are not put off by the volume of ads seen, and are more than happy to see content – so long as its relevant and interesting.”


Press contacts

For more information, please contact Sarah Owen sarah@pumpkin.uk.com / +44 (0) 7958 202 990

Sarah Edwards, Marketing & Communications Director, Asia Pacific
Ogilvy & Mather Group Hong Kong
Sarah.edwards@ogilvy.com , +852 2884 8611

Notes to editors

Survey Methodology
Results were gathered online from 6,522 self-reported social media users in 16 countries using SurveyMonkey Audience. Surveys conducted in Brazil, France, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, UK, and USA were completed in June 2014 and surveys conducted in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, and Singapore were completed in April 2014. For open-ended responses, only phrases with 2 or more mentions are shown in the word clouds.

About Social@Ogilvy
Social@Ogilvy is the world's largest network of social media strategists. Named 2013 Global Digital/Social Consultancy of the Year byThe Holmes Report, the practice leverages social media expertise across all Ogilvy & Mather disciplines, offering an extensive list of services within the foundational business solutions -- Listening and Analytics; Social Business Solutions; Social Media Marketing and Communications; Social Shopping; Social CRM; Social Care; and Conversation Impact™.

About SurveyMonkey
SurveyMonkey is the world's leading online survey platform, with more than 2 million survey responses every day. SurveyMonkey has revolutionized the way people give and take feedback, making it accessible, simple and affordable for everyone. The company was founded in 1999 with a focus on helping people make better decisions, and has built technology based on over 10 years of experience in survey methodology and web development. Customers include 99% of the Fortune 500, academic institutions, organizations and neighborhood soccer leagues everywhere.

The company has more than 300 employees worldwide with headquarters in Palo Alto, CA. For more information, visit www.surveymonkey.com.

Date: June 18, 2014