CNN has just conducted its first in-depth investigation into the ways its readers share articles on its site.
According to Didier Mormesse, CNN’s Senior Vice President of Research, advertising revenue was the key factor when undertaking the survey.
The results report that the most influential users (about 27% of the total audience) were responsible for over 87% of all shared content. Not surprisingly social networking sites accounted for the primary destination for the majority of shared accounting for 43% of all shared articles. Email was the next largest group with 30% while SMS and IM, at 27%, accounted for the remainder of all articles shared.
In an effort to stimy falling revenue CNN are anxious to understand how they can monitise social media content. By understanding what stories are shared by its readers CNN hopes to be able to charge a premium to advertisers who wish to be placed on articles that perform well on social media.
“The commerciality of the social media space is fast becoming apparent and this study means that for the first time, we are able to substantiate the value of shared news from an advertising perspective,” Didier said in a press release.
Looking at the types of stories that were shared over 65% were of major news stories while 19% were of breaking news. Surprisingly, only 16% of stories were quirky, ‘and finally’ stories. Human interest and “visually spectacular” articles were amongst the most shared.
The survey was conducted across two months with over 2,300 people. CNN used biometric and eyetracking technologies as well as traditional website analytics to paint a more details picture of their reader’s activities.
Earlier this year CNN was one of the first news organisations to integrate Facebook’s Open Graph technology into its website following a complete redesign of their site last year.