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The Psychology of Sharing: What Is This Study About?

A first-‐of-‐its-‐kind inquiry
into the motivations behind why we share

Understanding the motivational
forces behind the act of sharing will help marketers
get their content shared
Why do consumers share content online?

What motivates
consumers to
share content?

Are there distinct
personalities
with different
motivations?

How can
understanding
why people
share help
advertisers?
Overview
Overview

4
Methodology

Motivations
for Sharing

Online Sharing
Personas

Key Guidelines
for Getting
Shared

Consumer
Categories
Methodology

1
2
3

Ethnographies

In-‐person interviews in New York,
Chicago and San Francisco

Immersion/Deprivation
One-‐week sharing panel

Quantitative Survey

Survey of 2,500 medium/heavy
online sharers
Conducted segmentation to identify
main types of sharers

We worked with Latitude
Research to conduct a three-‐
phase study to understand
why people share content
online
SHARING CONTENT IS NOT NEW
In the past, people shared at lunch
with their girlfriends when they saw
someone with something cool. We still
share things when
relevant
just share more and online.
Ethnography participant, female
Sharing is not new, it's human nature

Self-‐
actualization

Self-‐
actualization
Love/
Belonging

Esteem

Esteem

Love/Belonging
Safety
Safety

Physiological
We now live in the Information Age
We share
MORE
content

From
MORE
sources

With
MORE
people

MORE
often

MORE
quickly
I have a hard time imagining how much
more to-‐the-‐minute information can
become. With twitter, instant FB
updates, e-‐mail updates, what would
have been considered fast even five
years ago is obsolete.
Deprivation participant, female
From Broadcasters to Sharecasters
Mashing up

Receiving

Redistributing
Combining

Creating and
recreating
Sharing acts as information management

73%

say they process
information more
deeply, thoroughly
and thoughtfully
when they share it

85%

say reading other
helps them
understand and
process information
and events

Sharing information
helps me do my job.
I remember products
and information
sources better when I
share them and am
more likely to use
them.
Deprivation participant, male
MOTIVATIONS FOR SHARING
To bring valuable and entertaining content to others

49%

say sharing allows
them to inform
others of products
they care about and
potentially change
opinions or
encourage action

94%

carefully consider
how the
information they
share will be useful
to the recipient

[I share] to enrich the
lives of those around
me.

-‐ Immersion
participant, female
To define ourselves to others

68%

share to give
people a better
sense of who they
are and what
they care about
I try to share only
information that will reinforce
the image I d like to present:
thoughtful, reasoned, kind,
interested and passionate
about certain things.
-‐ Deprivation participant, male
To grow and nourish our relationships

73%

share information
because it helps
them connect with
others who share
their interests

I miss the companionship and
conversations on Facebook.
I feel like
probably missing
out on some things without the
connection.

78%

share information
online because it lets
them stay connected
to people they may
not otherwise stay
in touch with

-‐ Deprivation participant,
male
Self-‐fulfillment

I enjoy getting comments
that I sent great information
and that my friends will forward
it to their friends because
. It
makes me feel valuable.
-‐
-‐ Ethnography participant, female

69%

share
information
because it allows
them to feel more
involved in the world
To get the word out about causes or brands

I forwarded an article
about Proposition B to
Everyone in my union. I
wanted them to learn about
the issue and rally against it.
-‐ Ethnography participant, male

84%

share because
it is a way to
support causes or
issues they care
about
Sharing is all about relationships

1
To bring
valuable and
entertaining
content to
others

2

3

To define
ourselves to
others

To grow and
nourish our
relationships

4

5

Self-‐fulfillment

To get the word
out about causes
or brands
Six personas of online sharers

1

5

Altruists

SEGMENTS ARE
DEFINED BY:

Connectors

Emotional
motivations

3

Hipsters

6

2

Careerists

Selectives

4

Boomerangs

Desired
presentation of
self
Role of sharing
in life
Value of being
first to share
KEY GUIDELINES FOR GETTING
KEY GUIDELINES FOR GETTING
CONTENT SHARED
CONTENT SHARED
Appeal to consumers
motivation to connect
with each other not
just with your brand
Trust is the
cost of entry for
getting shared
Keep it simple...
and it will get
won't get muddled
Appeal to their
sense of humor
Embrace a
sense of
urgency
Getting your
content shared
is just the
beginning

Get  shared

Get  shared  
again

Listen

Get  credit  for  
responding

Respond
E-‐mail is still #1
CATEGORY SEGMENTATION

Finance

Technology

Retail &
Fashion

Travel
Entertain-‐
ment
For  more  information  on  this  study  and  how  it  
impacts  your  brand,  please  contact  Brian  Brett:  
brian.brett@nytimes.com.

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Why We Share Online

  • 1.
  • 2. The Psychology of Sharing: What Is This Study About? A first-‐of-‐its-‐kind inquiry into the motivations behind why we share Understanding the motivational forces behind the act of sharing will help marketers get their content shared
  • 3. Why do consumers share content online? What motivates consumers to share content? Are there distinct personalities with different motivations? How can understanding why people share help advertisers?
  • 5. Methodology 1 2 3 Ethnographies In-‐person interviews in New York, Chicago and San Francisco Immersion/Deprivation One-‐week sharing panel Quantitative Survey Survey of 2,500 medium/heavy online sharers Conducted segmentation to identify main types of sharers We worked with Latitude Research to conduct a three-‐ phase study to understand why people share content online
  • 7. In the past, people shared at lunch with their girlfriends when they saw someone with something cool. We still share things when relevant just share more and online. Ethnography participant, female
  • 8. Sharing is not new, it's human nature Self-‐ actualization Self-‐ actualization Love/ Belonging Esteem Esteem Love/Belonging Safety Safety Physiological
  • 9. We now live in the Information Age We share MORE content From MORE sources With MORE people MORE often MORE quickly
  • 10. I have a hard time imagining how much more to-‐the-‐minute information can become. With twitter, instant FB updates, e-‐mail updates, what would have been considered fast even five years ago is obsolete. Deprivation participant, female
  • 11. From Broadcasters to Sharecasters Mashing up Receiving Redistributing Combining Creating and recreating
  • 12. Sharing acts as information management 73% say they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it 85% say reading other helps them understand and process information and events Sharing information helps me do my job. I remember products and information sources better when I share them and am more likely to use them. Deprivation participant, male
  • 14. To bring valuable and entertaining content to others 49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action 94% carefully consider how the information they share will be useful to the recipient [I share] to enrich the lives of those around me. -‐ Immersion participant, female
  • 15. To define ourselves to others 68% share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about I try to share only information that will reinforce the image I d like to present: thoughtful, reasoned, kind, interested and passionate about certain things. -‐ Deprivation participant, male
  • 16. To grow and nourish our relationships 73% share information because it helps them connect with others who share their interests I miss the companionship and conversations on Facebook. I feel like probably missing out on some things without the connection. 78% share information online because it lets them stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with -‐ Deprivation participant, male
  • 17. Self-‐fulfillment I enjoy getting comments that I sent great information and that my friends will forward it to their friends because . It makes me feel valuable. -‐ -‐ Ethnography participant, female 69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world
  • 18. To get the word out about causes or brands I forwarded an article about Proposition B to Everyone in my union. I wanted them to learn about the issue and rally against it. -‐ Ethnography participant, male 84% share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about
  • 19. Sharing is all about relationships 1 To bring valuable and entertaining content to others 2 3 To define ourselves to others To grow and nourish our relationships 4 5 Self-‐fulfillment To get the word out about causes or brands
  • 20.
  • 21. Six personas of online sharers 1 5 Altruists SEGMENTS ARE DEFINED BY: Connectors Emotional motivations 3 Hipsters 6 2 Careerists Selectives 4 Boomerangs Desired presentation of self Role of sharing in life Value of being first to share
  • 22. KEY GUIDELINES FOR GETTING KEY GUIDELINES FOR GETTING CONTENT SHARED CONTENT SHARED
  • 23. Appeal to consumers motivation to connect with each other not just with your brand
  • 24. Trust is the cost of entry for getting shared
  • 25. Keep it simple... and it will get won't get muddled
  • 28. Getting your content shared is just the beginning Get  shared Get  shared   again Listen Get  credit  for   responding Respond
  • 31. For  more  information  on  this  study  and  how  it   impacts  your  brand,  please  contact  Brian  Brett:   brian.brett@nytimes.com.