Half of All Online Content Gets Fewer than 8 Social Shares: How to Excel in an Overcrowded Market

02 December 2015

Half of All Online Content Gets Fewer than 8 Social Shares: How to Excel in an Overcrowded Market

Do you create content with high hopes of attracting attention and gaining influence?

Do you find yourself disappointed by your results?

A recent study by BuzzSumo has found that 50% of content attracts just 8 shares or fewer, and 75% gets fewer than 39 social shares. Sure, we all see blog posts with hundreds or even thousands of tweets and shares, but BuzzSumo’s research shows that this is very much the exception to the rule.

So, what is causing this crisis in social share numbers? And in external links, too; the study found that 75% of the posts BuzzSumo studied had no referring domain links whatsoever.

The sheer amount of content being produced online is overwhelming people, who can only consume a certain proportion of it. Blog posts and videos beg for engagement, but with so much competition, the public’s attention is limited.

Some content is created but not promoted, and is left to languish in a website’s archives with no effective social sharing strategy in place. In other cases, the content that is produced is poor quality, so readers feel no desire to share it with their contemporaries or link to it from their own websites.

But even exceptional content producers like Buffer and Copyblogger are seeing a reduction in social traffic and share numbers, so how can brands stand out?

BuzzSumo recommends focusing on three areas: research, amplification and monitoring.


Rather than just putting out new content without much thought, it’s important to find out exactly what readers are looking for.

What are your customers already engaging with? Which posts get the most shares amongst your target audience? What do your direct competitors do that gives them results? What do your readers want to know?

This final question is perhaps the most important: can you answer the question that your prospects ask most frequently?


Producing content without having a solid plan for distributing and promoting it is a waste of everybody’s time. It is likely to get lost in the midst of the thousands of other blog posts being created, and there is no reason for your readers to share it if you haven’t bothered to share it yourself!

Having a strategy to plan social media outreach creates a system where the promotion of new and existing content happens every time. For each piece of content that is created, a brand needs to know who it will appeal to, at its core, and who is likely to share it.

Social networks are obviously a key way for customers to find out about new content, but boosting content with PPC advertising and using paid, promoted posts on social media sites is an increasingly popular way to amplify the reach of website and blog content.


Keeping track of new trends is vital for content promotion because being at the height of a trend or creating industry news is far more effective than dragging your heels.

That is not to say there is no place for scheduling updates in advance, but doing this exclusively will lead to missing vital opportunities to promote your new and existing content. Monitor your mentions, your industry Twitter lists and your colleagues and competitors’ activity so you don’t lose out on trending and newsworthy opportunities.