Hotwire Blog

20 February, 2007

How influential are blogs?

At the tail end of last year we hosted a seminar on the impact of blogging on PR – yes, I know a common topic in 2006 – but we were keen to offer our delegates something different and original from the five other blogging seminars and conferences they had no doubt attended during the course of last year. Discussing the topic in the agency beforehand what was clear was that the blogging debate was built on a series of assumptions and intellectual leaps and what was missing was up-to-date hard facts to back these up. With this in mind we partnered with Ipsos/MORI to conduct some credible research both in the UK and across Europe, specifically looking at the role of blogs in influencing consumer purchasing behaviour. We were lucky enough to be joined at the seminar by MORI founder and keen blogger Sir Bob Worcester.

I'm not going to run through the entire research (check-out our White Paper for that) but given all the hype around blogs I was at first a bit surprised that only 1 in 5 people claim to have read a blog, but there was equal surprise amongst delegates that the figure was actually that high. What is clear is that the number of blogs is increasingly rapidly, and it will be interesting to see when we repeat this research whether readership is increasing at the same rate.

Another interesting aspect is that many consumers are reading blog content without actually realising it. Many news sites are increasingly adopting a blog format where the public's comments sit alongside that of the journalist's so user generated comment is penetrating traditional media and influencing the editorial which people are reading. It’s funny that in the UK which has one of the highest readerships of daily newspapers that the British public appears to have such disdain for the national press. The specific figure for the UK is 14% of people trust content in a newspaper, with trust in blog content actually 1% point higher. Today the internet has become the 21st century garden fence for the exchange of opinion and gossip. The blog author is the equivalent of the guy down the pub trusted more than the expert tech correspondent.

The research also found that those who spend more than 145€ on-line actually have a higher trust in blogs; I think this statistic really answers the ‘show me the money’ question when it comes to blogs. It’s interesting that those who spend more than 145€ are more influenced either negatively or positively by blog content. 45% of them decided not to make a purchase after reading a negative comment on line. I think this is quite striking and indicates the growing importance being placed on ‘impartial’ sources of advice and information.

What’s going to be exciting to watch is the influence that blogs begin to have in the B2B arena where purchasing decisions can be far more complex. The impact of blog content on the buying cycle would be an interesting one to quantify.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

2 key questions are:
1. "Who's blog?"
2. "What's the subject?"

Steve Jobs's blog will have a lot more credibility on technology than Joe down the dog & duck. His comments on travel, however, may have a lot of readibility but little expert value

Similarly the comments of the blog owner have more authenticity than viewers

It strikes me that "the blog" is just another content distribution format albeit with interactive features. Experts will continue to be highly valued, but they will have to adapt and embrace the technology to remain relevant

Johnny Waldron

18 April, 2007  

Post a Comment

<< Home