Our most recent webinar reprised a study that we released last year about what makes Facebook content shareable .

We followed that up with a blog series that identified the social best practices of the four drivers of shareability: social currency , emotions , usefulness and storytelling . Still, we wanted to dig deeper.

So we recommissioned the study. We surveyed more than 5,700 people who reviewed the 300 most-shared Facebook posts from July 2015 to March 2016. Respondents were asked why they would share that content.

We now have a better understanding about why social currency, or how we’re perceived by what we share, is such a powerful shareability driver—especially among millennials. And we were able to discern which specific emotions drive the most shares.

Shares are so important because they amplify brand messaging, which means they generate more impressions. And they come from our own networks; they’re endorsements we trust.

Of the 8.8 billion actions (likes, comments, shares and retweets) on Facebook and Twitter in Q1 2016, 1.4 billion (16%) were shares. Amplification (the sum of shares and retweets) has increased 408% since 2013.

If you missed the webinar, check out the recording. We’ve also pulled out some of the key insights right here.

Shareability Drivers By Age

Among the four drivers of shareability, we found that storytelling and usefulness drove the people to share most often in all age groups except millennials. The18- to 24-year-old group indicated that social currency was the most significant driver in sharing content.


We broke social currency down further and asked survey respondents to identify which reasons drove them to share. Social currency comes in many forms.

Millennials indicated that being in the know, or having advanced or exclusive knowledge of something, drove shares most often.

Orange is the New Black, the hit Netflix series, posted a video with scenes from the upcoming third season, which also announced the date it would air. It’s the second-most engaged post from the show year to date, with more than 312,000 total actions, 51% shares, and more than 8.4 million.

Only a screenshot from the end of the video with the air date posted seconds after the video generated more actions this year.

Millennials also indicated that appearing funny was a factor that drove them to share content.

Posts that demonstrated caring drove shares more often among the 55+ age group, followed by the desire to be in the know. Being connected to the community was also a driver that increased among our respondents older than 35.

The older age groups tended to engage more with content that demonstrated their interest in others (caring) as opposed to other social currency factors like looking funny or appearing in the know.

Emotional Drivers of Shareability

We asked survey respondents to identify whether content that evoked emotion drove them to share Facebook content. But, again, we wanted to dig a bit deeper. Respondents considered six different emotions: happiness, excitement, inspiration, amusement, anger and sadness.

Our survey indicated that positive emotions overwhelmingly drove people to share led by happiness (27%), Inspiration (24%), Amusement (22%) and Excitement (21%). Only 3% of respondents each indicated that anger and sadness drove them to share content.

While positive emotions drove people to share content, emotions differed across industries.


Our survey respondents indicated that inspiration was the emotion that drove the most shares among finance brands.

MassMutual told an inspiring and uplifting story about same-sex couples who’ve gotten married and the safety and security that provided them emotionally. The powerful message ends by drawing a parallel to MassMutual’s ability to provide financial security.

The video generated more than 33,000 actions, 37% from shares. It was by far MassMutual’s most-shared post of the time period evaluated and the second-most engaged post overall.

Video = Shares

We can’t say it enough: social video is highly shareable . The most-engaged videos of 2015 generated 3x as many shares as the top overall Facebook posts.

According to our survey respondents, videos allowed them to go further into a story, which helped them connect on a deeper emotional level with a brand. Some of the most-shared videos are produced by publishers, who experienced the most Facebook shares growth since Q1 2015.

Shares from publishers increased 99% driven by a 653% increase in shares of video content. Video recipe producers are especially adept at creating video content that generates a tremendous amount of shares. The 10 most-shared posts of Q1 2016 were videos, and of those, eight were recipes.


This is just the beginning. For more information about engagement growth and the increase in shares by platform, download the presentation. Dont miss out on learning how the drivers of shareability content can improve your content strategy.


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