You Are Reading This Blog – But are there others like you?

I track my blog stats regularly and can say that there has been a 45% increase in views from the fall of 2007 compared to the fall of 2008. The number of subscribers who receive posts by RSS or email has more than doubled in the last year. The increases are due to better search engine rankings in part, but I attribute some of the increase to the fact that blogs have become a more popular source of information.

In researching this premise I came across a study titled “Harnessing the Power of Blogs,” sponsored research by BuzzLogic and conducted by JupiterResearch, a Forrester Research company, which looks at the evolving influence of blogs from the reader’s perspective.

The study, which polled 2,210 people and was released this fall, found that the increase in blog readership from 2004 to 2008 was 300 percent; 47 percent of online consumers now read blogs. I was surprised to learn that 53% don’t, but this is where the growth is going to come from.

Blog Readers Survey
Blog Readers Survey
Courtesy of eMarketer.com

Half of blog readers said blogs were useful when they were considering what purchases to make, and more than half of that group said they looked at a blog just when they were about to buy something.

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.

The study also found that blogs have more impact on purchasing decisions than social networks. One-quarter of readers said they trust ads on a blog, as opposed to 19% who trust ads on social networks.

Aside from technology-related purchases, for which 31% of readers said blogs are helpful, other categories for which respondents say blogs are influential included media and entertainment (15%); games, toys and sporting goods (14%); travel (12%); automotive (11%); and health (10%).

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.

My blogging goal in 2009 is to average 3 posts per week on a range of marketing topics, increase my subscriber base by 150% and encourage more people to contact me when they read something that might be of value to them.

Have a great 2009.

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