Technorati’s new 2013 Digital Influence Report shows that consumers are turning to blogs when looking to make a purchase. In fact, blogs are now the third most influential digital resource (31%) when making overall purchases, behind retail sites (56%) and brand sites (34%).
Although blogs and influencers don’t get a significant portion of brands’ digital spend, they rank highly with consumers for trust, popularity, and influence. Blogs themselve rank among the top five of “most trustworthy sources.”
This means that where brands are spending is not yet aligned with where consumers see value and are influenced.
This reveals a significant obstacle for content creators: a lack of meaningful metrics that connects the dots between influence potential and purchasable medium.
Here are some key findings from the Technorati Digital Influence Report :
Blogs Have A Significant Influence on Consumer Purchasing Decisions
Bloggers who regularly review products and services related to their interests and audience are typically honest, covering positives and negatives of a brand’s product in equal measure.
Loyal blog readers assign trust indicators when evaluating the credibility and trustworthiness of a blogger’s review. When trust is clearly established (including transparency about compensation and disclosures about products and services rendered in exchange for review), bloggers can drive action from their readers.
Researching reviews is often a critical first step in any potential purchase decision.
Niche Communities Are More Influential
Smaller interest communities have greater influence over consumers than larger ones.
Brand marketers will typically target A-list bloggers to advocate on their behalf, but research indicates that focusing on smaller, focused “nicheworks” will often prove more effective. A focus on providing value and building strong relationships through great content again builds influence and trust, which ultimately drives consumer action.
Top Social Media Influencers Blog For Themselves
According to the survey, 86% of influencers blog. Of these, 88% blog for themselves. Moreover, a majority of influencers (59%) don’t produce much content outside of blogs.
In an industry populated by consultants and strategists, self-hosted blogs by top influencers are credibility enhancers. Industry leaders establish a voice and reputation through the dissemination of knowledge. Knowledge sharing is another trust indicator.
Brands and Influencers Have Different Metrics Of Success
Brands and influencers think differently. Brands see success as increased activity on Facebook, Twitter and their websites. Influencers rank blog or overall pageviews as the best measure of success.
An influencer’s priority is to deliver prospects to a site where that trust factor can be converted into something else – a subscriber, a customer of a knowledge product, or a podcast listener. Success is measured by the number of people reading or hearing their content.
A few final thoughts
If there’s a single takeaway, it’s the realization that blogging cultivates community and trust, which in turn creates the potential for influence. Closely examining how top influencers in a given business category create content, measure success and grow audience can reveal insights into your own business.
What do you think?