Why Social Media Users Share Content, Offensive Or Not

It's not always apparent why social media users share content. One thing is certain -- 53% of social media users found offensive content made them not want to associate with the brand. Less than one in five had a negative reaction to the offensive ads. Six in 10 respondents to the study released Monday by Ogilvy and SurveyMonkey found that in mature markets, offensive content is the most
off-putting, compared to 46% in emerging markets.

Ogilvy and SurveyMonkey ran a study surveying 6,500 respondents in 16 countries to determine what, why and how social media users share content. The two created a profile for a global user and explored the primary reasons that people say what they do.

Some consumers are sick of seeing ads and would rather interact with content. Six in 10 say they see too many ads, while 36% say that the amount of branded or ad content is about right. The study found that 83% of Americans are sick of seeing ads, followed by 74% of Japanese and 73% of Koreans.

On average, 46% of survey respondents say they share content on their profiles, but those in China, Hong Kong, Turkey, Brazil and Mexico share the most. China leads with 80%. The least active sharers are in Japan at 90%; the U.S. at 67%; Germany at 67%; and Korea at 57%.

Some 36% of social-media users share content to promote a cause they feel strongly about, while 49% view content sharing as a means to feel useful and thoughtful. They also share to stay in touch with friends and family. Few share for promotional reasons. Most are likely to share when they come across newsworthy content at 61%, but less so when lonely, 21% or busy and bored, at 13%.

The top reason why social media users in Hong Kong share content is because they are in a good mood, whereas Japanese users are the only group with 43% saying they are most likely to share content when they are bored. Across all countries, very few say they share content because they feel sad or lonely.

About 40% of respondents said the source of the content is not important as long as it's interesting. Some 38% like to share informative or educational content, whereas 35% share entertaining. The informative content is shared more frequently among mature markets, at 43%, while emerging markets across the globe drive conversation via funny or entertaining content, at 40%.

More than 74% of social media users in Japan, 73% in Korea, and 83% in the United States said they are overwhelmed by the amount of advertising. Americans and Japanese are also the most likely to give a poor rating on the quality of branded content and are less inclined to regularly watch or share such content.

"Social Sharing" photo from Shutterstock.

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