by Brian Solis
BuzzLogic partnered with Jupiter Research, which is owned by Forrester, to spotlight evolving consumer behavior and decision making processes and how blogs influence and factor into consumer purchases. The companies polled over 2,000 online consumers in the U.S. and results suggest that blog readers use blogs as the top solution for discovering other blog content in order to research and guide decisions – ranking higher than Web search.
Additional findings include:
Links more powerful than search: For frequent readers, links beat search as a navigation tool: 38 percent said blog links were the top tool for discovering new blog content as compared to 34 percent who voted for Web search.
Links signal trust: For frequent readers, blog links appear to have similar impact as a trusted recommendation from a person (a response from 39 percent of survey participants).
Blog search not yet mainstream: Blog search engines received the lowest ranking from respondents: 6 percent of general readers and 11 percent of frequent readers say they use these tools to discover new blogs.
Buying Behavior: The Nature of Blog Influence
Blogs influence purchases: One half (50 percent) of blog readers say they find blogs useful for purchase information.
Blogs sway more purchases among readers than social networks: More frequent blog readers say they trust relevant blog content for purchase decisions than content from social networking sites.
Niche focus ups influence factor: For those who have found blog content useful for product decisions, more than half (56 percent) said blogs with a niche focus and topical expertise were key sources.
Blogs go beyond tech: Outside of technology-related purchases, for which 31 percent of readers say blogs are useful, other key categories include media and entertainment (15 percent); games/toys and/or sporting goods (14 percent); travel (12 percent); automotive (11 percent); and health (10 percent).
Now if you wanted to know how and when blogs factor into the purchase cycle, the study also offers insight for us:
Blogs indeed 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) said blogs played a role as they decided to move forward with a purchase.
Blog readers also replied around blogging influence as it relates to the following steps of the purchase process:
Decide on a product or service – 21 percent
Refine choices – 9 percent
Get support and answers – 19 percent
Discover products and services – 17 percent
Assure – 14 percent
Inspire a purchase – 13 percent
Execute a purchase – 7 percent
According to BuzzLogic CEO, Rob Crumpler, “For a portion of Web users, blogs rival search as a navigation tool, which has really interesting implications for advertisers. Blogs are becoming trusted guides, steering users who are seeking very specific information to places of interest online. Being able to identify where this is taking place across the blogosphere gives us a window into user intent and a means to better target advertising to a qualified audience.”