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Email vs. Social: Which is Best for Sharing?
27 million pieces of content are shared each day.

So if you’re looking to encourage sharing in your campaigns, are there tactics you can use to increase the share? Does email sharing outperform social sharing or vice versa?
According to the April 2011 “Content is the Fuel of the Social Web” report by AOL and Nielsen Online, people are sharing online content in a variety of ways, and using different channels and platforms to share with various contacts. The study found that 93% of users share content via email while 89% use social networks.

When asked to identify the primary way they share information, 66% chose email and 28% chose social networks. So email is clearly the preferred channel for sharing. The study also showed that 99% of people who share via a social network do not limit their sharing to social channels- they share over multiple platforms.

Although email is the most popular channel for sharing, the decision of which channel to use to share is impacted by the intended audience. When it comes to sharing with friends, 92% of users choose social networks as their preferred channel (ahead of email at 89%). But email is the preferred channels when it comes to sharing with family (86% vs. 77% for social networks) and colleagues (26% vs. 24% for social networks).

Based on this study, there are several takeaways:
  1. Sharing is popular across both email and social networks, so provide both options if you want people to share your content.

  2. Even though email is the preferred channel for sharing, users share heavily via email and social no matter who they are targeting with their message. The gaps between email and social aren’t enough to dismiss one channel from your strategy.

  3. With email continuing its role as a very strong sharing channel, make sure your social content does not ignore email as a sharing option.

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