Sunday, June 26, 2016

Social Media Shares Fail To Yield Clicks

People are more willing to share links than they are to read the links that they share. According to a study reported by the New York Daily News, Columbia University and the French National Institute found that only two in five people will click through and read the story they receive from links on social media.  The other three in five will share the story to friends, colleagues, and followers without having actually read what they passed on.

It could be the study is flawed in some way or perhaps it is society that is flawed.  We live in a culture that thinks nothing about liking, sharing, and retweeting content that it doesn’t even look at.  The empty testimonial granted by the person sharing unread links means nothing.  Worse, people may read something because they assume a trusted source read, liked, and agreed with it.  It just goes to show you that you can’t even trust those that you trust when it comes to information.

It’s hard enough to validate the accuracy or legitimacy of a social media post or link and it gets messier when we believe a trusted third party looked into it and recommended it to us.

Another point of concern about social media is that a lot of claims get made in tweets or short FB posts that may come from a bigger story or study, but because social media is fast and short, we can’t always discern the accuracy or veracity of the content.  As you can see, people quickly share stuff they don’t read or even agree with, let alone study deeper.

So what might this mean for authors and book promoters?  Well for one, you should realize that your links may get circulated, but not necessarily read.  Catchy headers and strong visuals could be enough to induce people to pass your stuff along but it may take something else to read it.  And when they read it, how often will that yield an action step such as buying your book?

We’re quick to send out or share content but as suspected, we don’t have the time to read everything that’s floating around in the social media universe.  We should not take it as an indication of support or popularity. When something was re-tweeted a million times or liked on Facebook, because people are just doing it automatically without much thought or concern.

The math in the study sounds crazy.  The study examined the Twitter pages for five major news outlets over a one-month period last summer and found that the posts had a combined 2.8 million shares, reaching 75 billion people – but yielded only 9.6 million clicks.

“People are more willing to share an article than read it,” Arnaud Legout, the study’s co-author, said in a statement.  “This is typical of modern information consumption.  People form an opinion based on a summary, or summary of summaries, without making the effort to go deeper.”  

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016

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