October 10, 2010

“Shared news matters more”, say results from CNN’s first international study into Social Media recommendation

‘Business’, ‘World’ and ‘Technology’ sections lead the way for “most shared” news stories while visual spectacle, science & technology and human interest top the list of themes

CNN social media

The results of CNN’s inaugural global research study into the power of news and recommendation (POWNAR) reveal stark benefits for advertisers attached to news stories that are shared in social media. POWNAR comprised a global online survey with 2300 respondents, a thorough semiotic analysis, neuro-marketing techniques, news tracking and an ad effectiveness survey to demonstrate that shared news drives global uplifts in brand metrics. The research project was conducted internationally between June and August this year.

Through biometrics and eye-tracking techniques, POWNAR also aimed to measure emotional engagement associated with online news sharing. The results showed a “halo effect” of substantially higher engagement with “recommended” news content and embedded advertising, as opposed to “randomly” consumed content and advertising.

The overall uplift for brands who advertise around stories recommended in social media is significant. The global online survey showed that people who received news content from a friend or associate via social media, were 19% more likely to recommend the brand that advertised around that story to others and 27% more likely to favour that brand themselves.

More specifically, POWNAR examined case studies including one where a major European tourism board reported notably stronger campaign cut-through with aided ad re-call up 50% Cnn social media studyand brand favourability up 32% after advertising around news that was shared in social media.

The results from POWNAR also showed that video pre-roll advertising had overall a superior branding effect when appearing around news content shared in social media, in comparison to display banner advertising.

What makes news “shareable”?

POWNAR identified a three tiered semiotic wheel that guides sharing patterns; comprising the three types of codes of narrative, theme and underlying message. For narrative, 65% of shared content comprises ongoing stories, 19% comprises breaking news and 16% of content falls into the “quirky or funny” category. In terms of theme, news recommendation is driven by content that is visually spectacular, stories about science and technology, human interest stories and money-related stories. The majority of stories being shared carry an underlying message of the “sharer” imparting knowledge.

Who is doing the sharing?

The 80/20 rule applies to the findings. 27% of all sharers* account for 87% of all news stories shared. The average global user shares 13 stories per week and receives 26 stories through shared social media links or emails.

Which platforms dominate?

In peer-to-peer communication, 43% of news sharing comes from social media networks and tools e.g. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, MySpace, followed by email (30%), SMS (15%) and IM (12%).

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