Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Google tests removing the News tab from search results
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Oct. 22, 2015, 1:06 p.m.
Mobile & Apps

You’re probably underestimating how much your articles are being shared via text message

In BuzzFeed’s news app, sharing via SMS is a more common user action than via Facebook or Twitter.

Last fall, in our Predictions for 2015 package, Jamie Mottram of Gannett predicted we’d see an increase in SMS sharing. He cited the impact a SMS share button had had on Gannett’s sports site For The Win:

jamie-mottram-predix2

I’ve seen a few more texting share icons pop up here and there, but it’s unclear how big a driver of traffic they are. (Dark social!) So I asked one news organization that knows a thing or two about social — BuzzFeed — what they were seeing in their BuzzFeed News app.

buzzfeed-news-app-sms-text-shareBuzzFeed News puts more care into its sharing experience than most, creating attractive story cards like this one for texting (and other platforms).

I asked BuzzFeed’s Stacy-Marie Ishmael if she’d share data on which share options get used most often. Among Facebook, Twitter, and texting, I think conventional wisdom would be that Facebook’s the most popular (the goliath!), Twitter next (the one all the journalists are on!), and SMS third.

But it’s the opposite:

(Also note Reading List ahead of Pocket ahead of Instapaper. And good ol’ email is still strong.)

We’ve written a number of times about the rise of chat apps (Snapchat, WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, Kakao, Kik, etc.) as distribution platforms, and that’s very true. But don’t forget about humble old SMS. If you make it easier for your readers to share via text on mobile, they just might take you up on the offer.

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker used under a Creative Commons license.

Joshua Benton is the senior writer and former director of Nieman Lab. You can reach him via email (joshua_benton@harvard.edu) or Twitter DM (@jbenton).
POSTED     Oct. 22, 2015, 1:06 p.m.
SEE MORE ON Mobile & Apps
Show tags
 
Join the 60,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Google tests removing the News tab from search results
The News filter disappearing from Google search results for some users this week won’t help publishers sleep any easier.
Wealthier, urban Americans have access to more local news
But roughly half of U.S. counties have only one news outlet or less.
A new study looks at the positive things that can happen when journalism and comedy intersect
“When I asked people ‘Are you journalists?’ they would say no. But if I asked them ‘Is what is what you do journalistic?’ they say yes, of course.”