Moz and BuzzSumo recently teamed up for an extensive study of more than 1 million posts to determine if there was a correlation between social shares and links. The study revealed the majority of content gets few shares and even fewer links but also identified specific content characteristics that drive interaction and links.
In an initial sampling of 100,000 posts, more than 75 percent of articles have zero external links and just one or less referring domain link. In the larger sampling of 1 million posts, the study found there was no overall correlation between shares and links. As a general rule, shares were more easily acquired than links.
“The data suggests most content is simply not worthy of sharing or linking, and also that people are very poor at amplifying content,” Steve Rayson, director at BuzzSumo, wrote on the Moz blog.
There was no average number of shares or links, rather there is a skewed distribution curve where the majority of posts got little traction while a small number of outliers shares/links in the thousands.
The Content ‘Sweet Spot’
In a deeper dive into successful content, the study found several content characteristics that generally led to more shares and links, and a higher correlation between the two.
- Longer form content – more than 1,000 words – gets a higher average for shares and significantly more links.
- Research-backed and evidenced content did well, as did opinion shaping journalism.
- List posts and videos were the content forms shared most frequently.
Content is Part of Customer Journey for B2B Buyers
While important, shares and links of content aren’t the only factors relevant to B2B marketers. Studies have shown content plays an important role in the overall buyer journey. The “2015 Content Preferences Survey” from Demand Gen reported 67 percent of B2B buyers rely more on content to research and make purchasing decisions than they did a year ago.
B2B buyers are examining a number of different content types and channels to make decisions, with 61 percent starting with a web search. White papers, webinars, e-books and case studies were most often used to research purchasing decisions. A general web search was the starting point for 61 percent of respondents.