Statistics on How Content is Shared Online

There are many ways to share content online; are you utilizing the most popular methods?

Nielsen Online and AOL released an April 2011 report entitled “Content is the Fuel of the Social Web”. Within this report, more than 10,000 social media messages were analyzed to decipher the methods used for sharing content online.

The overall findings showed that 93% of Internet users used email to share content, 89% used social networks and 82% used blogs.

These users reported using different methods for sharing, depending on the people they were sending content to. For instance, social networks are the primary method for sharing content with friends, according to 92% of the respondents. This is closely followed by email, as 89% reported it being the primary source for sharing with friends.

When it came to sharing content with family members, email ranked first with 86% and social networks came second with 77% of respondents citing it.

Email was also the most popular way to share with colleagues.

For sharing content publicly, message boards were the most popular method, with 51% of users cited. Blogs followed in popularity, with 41%.

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Content formats

Additionally, the study showed the formats used to share content.

The format used the most featured a URL to published content, which 60% used the most. Embedded content, which eMarketer reports as potentially being “branded experienced on a social network”, was used 36% of the time. The final 4% was a URL to a brand or corporate website.


Online publishers and marketers should be engaging in multiplatform publishing by utilizing blogs and social media, among other methods for offering content.

However, this data from “Content is the Fuel of the Social Web” can be used to put more focus to the process of sharing content. Knowing your audience will allow you to determine who they are likely to share content with…and this study helps point out the methods used for sharing content the most.


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