Blog Content Influences Consumer Buying Behavior
New market research has found that blog readers are strongly influenced by blog content when it comes to purchase decisions across a number of categories, and that blogs play a key role in ushering readers to the point of an actual purchase. BuzzLogic, a social media analysis company and ad network, sponsored the market research and JupiterResearch, a Forrester research company, conducted the survey of more than 2,000 online consumers in the US.
Their Harnessing the Power of Blogs survey also found that blog readership has grown 300% over the past four years. The results also suggest that consumers who read blogs more than once per month — or frequent blog readers — use blogs as the top online navigation tool to discover other blog content, ranking higher than general Web search or blog search.
Looking more closely at how blogs factor into consumer purchase decisions and the nature of blog influence on buying behavior, the survey found:
According to the study, blogs factor in to critical stages of the purchase process, weighing most heavily at the actual moment of a purchase decision. When it comes to respondents who said they have trusted blog content for purchase decisions in the past, over half (52 percent) say blogs played a role in the critical moment they decided to move forward with a purchase.
Blog readers were also surveyed about the influence of blogs as it relates to the following steps of the purchase process:
For frequent blog readers, ads on blogs are on par with sponsored search results. However, trust of blog advertising exceeds that of social networking site advertising. A quarter of these readers say they trust ads on a blog they read; paid search links also accounted for 25% of the responses, while 19% say they trust ads on social networking sites.
The study also suggests that ads on blogs spur a number of activities: 40% of blog readers have taken action as a result of viewing an ad on a blog; 50% of frequent blog readers say this is the case. The top activities include:
JupiterResearch designed and fielded the survey in August 2008 to online consumers selected randomly from the NPD Group US online consumer panel. A total of 2,210 individuals responded. For more information on the survey’s methodology, go to JupiterResearch.
Now, blogs certainly aren’t considered the “newbies” of the social media scene – “granddaddies” is probably a more appropriate term. But that gives them an advantage from a marketing perspective – the medium has matured and moved from early adopter phase to the mainstream.
This may come as a surprise to some search engine marketers, but blog readers do not appear to rely as heavily on search as a means to find new blogs as consumers of traditional online media do. According to the new survey, one in five consumers who have read a blog in the past 12 months — or general blog readers — use blog links to discover new blogs. Further, the study suggests blogs are not consumed in isolation — 49% of blog readers and 71% of frequent readers read more than one blog per session. Other key findings include: