7. The debate over WHAT we do

Are we “made to share”? Which is more important, shares or views?

It’s been pointed out that:

  • You can’t have lots of shares without lots of views.
  • Some content (like our entertainment stories) aren’t as shareable as news. Although, we used to think that news wasn’t very shareable and that’s been proved wrong.

Let’s look at some data.

Most viewed articles so far this month

1. “Alleged images of actress Jennifer Lawrence naked surface online after ‘iCloud leak’”. 230 shares, 740k views. 0% of views are from shares!

Minimal shares and minimal time on site – less than a minute, way lower than for other articles in the top 50. One theory: users came from Google hoping to see naked pictures, found we didn’t have any, exited. A classic case of the view metric being misleading.

2. “If you are a parent you’ll understand the humour of this newborn baby photograph”. 35k shares, 450k views. 95% of views were from Facebook and dark social.

3. “Identity of Jack The Ripper finally ‘revealed’ with the help of DNA evidence”. 29k shares, 320k views. 66% of views were from Facebook and dark social.

4. “Giant mutant spider dog prank is brilliant and incredibly cruel”. 31k shares, 290k views. 80% of views were from Facebook and dark social.

The Upworthy matrix

Conclusion

The data suggests that shares drives views more than vice versa, BUT the picture might be different for our “long tail”. Time on site for social and search referrals seem very similar (you’ll have to generate the report for yourself, sorry).

Either way, one of the big wins from social is that it’s helped us take Metro’s conversational feel to the next level.

Next post.

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