According to mobile publishing platform Rumble’s Q1 engagement study, users overwhelmingly prefer sharing articles via email compared to Facebook and Twitter. With the rise in mobile traffic to news sites, publishers are recognizing that the mobile audience and the social audience are increasingly one and the same.
The study looked at over 100,000 users across multiple publishers, and found that 76 percent of all articles shared were through email. The remaining article shares were split evenly between Facebook and Twitter, at 12 percent each. “It is recommended that publishers support email sharing in their mobile apps… [Publishers should] also use the email-sharing feature to drive stronger acquisition of mobile users,” said the study.
For publishers and content creators, the research also found that national news, op-ed and video content garnered the highest share rates, while local info, business and regional news got the lowest share rates. Interestingly, the popularity of an article did not necessarily correlate with article shares: Front-page news was by far the most popular content, but had below-average share rates.
“As sharing is a leading indicator of user engagement, it reinforces the argument that low-traffic content sections can still offer great value to publishers serving double duty in driving higher engagement and enhancing brand value by sharing to a non-regular user base,” said the study.
However, a recent Pew study showed that visitors who come to news sites from social media were less valuable than visitors who arrived at the site directly. Even for publishers like the highly-social BuzzFeed, direct visitors spent more time reading and engaging with content than those who came from social.
What does this mean for publishers and content creators? Is it wise to invest in low-traffic content that drives social engagement with non-regular readers? Or should news outlets be investing in content for highly-engaged regular readers? In the end, it all depends on your strategy, and both routes can be successful.
“[BuzzFeed's strategy] is not built around building a loyal, returning audience. Instead, it is built around ‘being a part of the conversation,’” according to Pew. Direct visitors and the more-fickle social visitors can bring different types of value to publishers.