Study: Blogs Influence Purchases More Than Social Sites

According to new research from Enid Burns at The ClickZ Network, blogs can have more impact on purchase decisions than social networks. Blogs create a conversation and trusted resource that influences purchase decision.

The study, “Harnessing the Power of Blogs,” sponsored research by BuzzLogic and conducted by JupiterResearch, a Forrester Research company, looks at the evolving influence from the reader’s perspective. “What we wanted to do was look at the reader’s side of the coin, look at reader patterns and how people are reading blogs…and drill down into the content impacting other media platforms,” said Valerie Combs, VP of corporate communications at BuzzLogic.

Readership of blogs is on the rise. JupiterResearch noted a 300 percent growth in monthly blog readership in the past four years. Readers look to links and multiple blog sources to extend the conversation: 49 percent of blog readers, defined as someone who reads at least one blog a month, and 71 percent of frequent readers all read more than one blog per session. Multiple blog sources offer more opportunities for consumers to see blog ads. A quarter of readers say they trust ads on a blog, compared to 19 percent who trust ads on social networking sites.

Advertisements on blogs are an opportunity for marketers to reach consumers. The findings said 40 percent of people reading blogs have taken action as a result of viewing an ad on a blog; and 50 percent of frequent blog readers say they have taken action. Of those actions: 17 percent have read product reviews online; 16 percent have sought out more information on a product or service; and 16 percent have visited a manufacturer or retailer Web site.

“More and more publishers are become extremely savvy understanding the game and becoming better at monetizing, which is great for the advertiser as well,” said Combs.

The survey also finds consumers are influenced by blogs at the moment of purchase decision. The channel plays a greater role than social networks, likely because bloggers establish themselves as an authority on a topic, particularly in niche areas, and create a relationship with the consumer.

“One of the things that’s so great about them is the personal, specific information,” said Combs. “Thorough, useful, honest creation, create a level of trust with the reader.”

We at Demi & Cooper just love blogs for our clients (heck, you’re reading our own blog now!). In healthcare, websites simply cannot be written for discussion purposes — they are reference tools designed to get the viewer the information he or she seeks quickly and easily, such as where are you located, how do I find a doctor, what services do you offer, etc. In homebuilding, websites show what the builder offers, where it’s at, and what it cost, plus a whole bunch of other biased info.

But blogs can go deeper into each subject, explaining medical procedures (even using video), new facilities and procedures, etc. in health care. In home building, testimonials go in blogs, as do local events, new hires, new techniques in building, etc.

But the most valuable thing you can do with a blog is tag it (digg, delicious, etc.) and link it so that the topic of the blog will come up in searches. We even Twitter our clients’ blogs and feed it to Facebook, getting the social community behind our work.

So just blog it. It won’t hurt and the results will be very impressive.

One Comment

  1. Gina
    November 18, 2008

    This makes perfect sense. Charles, at your speech on this subject (prior to this blog entry), you described how most websites should NOT be considered marketing tools but rather reference tools, and that all of the marketing should come from microsites and blogs. This just supports that. Hey, you were ahead of your time — again.