27/01/2014 09:07 GMT | Updated 28/03/2014 05:59 GMT

Social Sharing: Our Shifting Preferences

Social sharing has changed drastically over the past year. We, as consumers, no longer exercise a one dimensional approach to social content sharing. Recent research from the global social media impact study (GSMIS) provides a fascinating insight into shifts in social media, but while the focus has so far been on the apparent decline of Facebook, the real story is the diversity in how services are used.

The current abundance of social media platforms provides us with extensive options when it comes to sharing content. It's about how we interact with each other on a range of platforms.

What do the statistics say

Gigya, the connected consumer management company, recently released research into the landscape of social sharing for the third quarter of 2013. The results measured the trends in social media sharing across the last year, and clearly show that our preferences are changing, and they're changing quickly.

Facebook is still the dominant sharing destination in some cases, but other social networks have now become important venues for shared content across various sectors. Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn have made great strides in the area, but the big news is about the rapid growth of a relatively new player: Pinterest.

The photo-sharing network, which now has over 70 million active users, has become a top sharing destination in the past year. In particular it's made huge strides in industry verticals like ecommerce, where it has actually surpassed Facebook as the most shared network, with 44 per cent of all shares.

While the image sharing site is less well-used in the UK, in the third quarter of last year it overtook Twitter as the second most popular sharing platform in the US, with 29 per cent of users choosing this method for sharing content. Facebook is just 7 per cent ahead, at 36 per cent.

The continental divide

However, while Pinterest is rapidly growing in the US, looking at Europe it's clear that we interact differently to our transatlantic counterparts. Gigya's third quarter research revealed that Europeans use Twitter nearly as much as Facebook (45 per cent use Twitter and 47 per cent use Facebook).

This is a not only a clear indication of the relative dominance of Facebook and Twitter in Europe, but it's also a prime example of the complementary sharing activity that we indulge in. If the US social sharing statistics are an indication of possible usage trends, then 2014 is the year that European marketers put their Pinterest strategies in place, as there's likely to be a huge uptake of the photo sharing platform alongside the established Twitter and Facebook use.

The truth however, is that there's no longer a singular social channel that we engage with. We have a multi-dimensional outlook on social sharing platforms and it's constantly changing.