Sharing and social media are often seen as synonymous, but in today’s chart, we take a look at how sharing on social increasingly takes place alongside other, more “purposeful” activities.

Over the last two years, figures for sharing opinions, details of day-to-day life, and photos have held fairly steady. However, this can hide other trends.

Sharing visual content has taken on a new relevance thanks largely to the strong growth of photo-focused platforms like Instagram.

The percentage of internet users visiting Instagram, for example, has risen by 22 percentage-points in the last two years. Short-form visual updates – still mostly limited to Snapchat in 2015 – are now a fixture of Instagram and Facebook with Stories, and WhatsApp with Statuses.

But alongside this, there has been a rise in more “purposeful” social activities – looking for entertainment, work contacts, or products to buy.

So while sharing may not be the dominant activity on social, social networks fulfill different use cases.

This has been propelled by the growth of multi-networking, as different networks come to serve different purposes, with the average internet user now having around 2 more accounts in 2017 than in 2015.

In tomorrow’s chart, we will put a spotlight on one of these purposeful activities, specifically the rising use of social media for researching products, to highlight how this changing engagement with social can be a benefit for brands.

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Written by

Chris is a Senior Trends Analyst at GlobalWebIndex. Moving to the company in 2017 after working in publishing, he produces blogs, infographics and reports on the most pressing topics in the worlds of technology, marketing, and many others.

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