iPhone Most Social Device, Claims New Study From ShareThis

The mobile web is more social than the desktop web, and among mobile devices, the iPhone is the most social. These are the new findings from Palo Alto-based publisher platform ShareThis, which is today releasing data from a large study of social behavior across devices. The study compared billions of social actions across both desktop web and mobile in order to determine which platforms and devices saw — or spurred — the most social sharing activity.

ShareThis, for those unfamiliar, is a Palo Alto-based publisher platform and the maker of those “social sharing” buttons you’ll find scattered across the web. The company recently closed on $23 million in Series C funding and acquired the mobile startup Socialize, which provides developers with tools to make their mobile apps social.

ShareThis, of course, has an interest in promoting or encouraging social sharing activity, but its findings today aren’t about whether or not such activity is popular (we already know it is), it’s about where that sharing behavior takes place. The caveat here is that data comes from ShareThis’s network, a company that historically has been focused more on the desktop web, and only now is moving toward bringing more consistency between web and mobile platforms. That bias is apparent in the sample sizes: 4.9 billion social patterns across desktop web and 1.2 billion social patterns across mobile web over the course of 30 days.

According to the research, consumers are nearly twice as likely to click and share content on social networks through mobile devices than on desktops, and on mobile sharing activity is dominated by Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Facebook, in fact, accounts for 60 percent of sharing on mobile, and Pinterest is nearly three times more represented on mobile than desktop. Meanwhile, most of the email-based sharing happens on the desktop.


ShareThis also anointed the iPhone as the “most social device,” saying that users are three times more likely to share their content via iPhone versus the desktop, and are one-and-a-half times more likely to share on an iPhone versus all other mobile devices. This data holds up with a number of other reports that seem to indicate that iPhone users are more engaged with mobile apps and the mobile web, in general.

Something odd that cropped up in ShareThis’s study is that Pinterest is more popular on the iPad, where it dominates with almost 50 percent of social activity. That raises some flags for obvious reasons. Pinterest is popular, but perhaps ShareThis’s sample is not the most consistent.

At the end of the day, the results of ShareThis’ analysis may tell us more about ShareThis’s customer base than it does the wider web. But that network, largely publishers, does contain several big-name brands, including Vogue, Food Network, C-SPAN, EA, Cosmo, Shape, Boston.com, Perez Hilton, AMC, Travel Channel, Entrepreneur, The Hollywood Reporter, Fandango, Scripps and others. If anything, maybe it tells publishers that the Pinterest button should be given a more prominent position on their sites. After all, it’s not all cake pops, crafts and home decor on there.