Influencing Purchase Behavior: Blog Social Media vs. Social Networks


social media blogs vs. social networks and a consumers purchasing behaviorOne of the top studies reported in 2008 found social media blogs influence a consumers online social behavior of their purchasing decisions far greater than social networks, as blogs that influence consumers generate a timely conversation and perceived as a greater trusted resource.

Covered by Clickz, the study conducted by JupiterResearch called “Harnessing the Power of Blogs”, looks at the evolving influence from online visitors/readers, and how they engage and interact with the blog media platform.

With the explosion of blogs (blog marketing) over the last few years, and the integration of professional, personal and industry blogs into the marketing framework of companies, more and more individuals seek blogs as their direct form of news and consumer research and informative guides. This is shown from the study where JupiterResearch noted a 300 percent growth in monthly blog readership in the past four years.

The curious question is why? Why blogs? Aside from the rich, frequent content that’s absorbed by Google and compliments a businesses search strategies to produce saturated results on the core subject matter the reader is seeking, readers find blogs more useful as a resource by using its links and multiple resources referenced in the blog. This contributes to spark or extend the conversation on the blog post/article. And the frequency blog readers flock to the web to jump into the conversation is shown with 49% of blog readers defined as someone who reads a blog at least once a month, and 71% reading more than one. And multiple blog sources reflect more opportunities for contextual and online ads, referrals in comments by readers, and any direct or indirect references within the content itself.

An interesting finding in the study found that 25% of readers would trust advertising on a blog, when compared to 19% who trust ads on a social network site. Perhaps this is a reflection on the performance between the industry online ads versus the real word of mouth referral ads placed by the readers or within the content itself.
Even though both blogs and social networks create opportunities for the marketer to reach consumers, and social sites to have the advantage of referral marketing, the study did find…

  • 40 percent of people reading blogs have taken action as a result of viewing an ad on a blog
  • 50 percent of frequent blog readers 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
    • 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 Valerie Combs, VP of corporate communications at BuzzLogic, sponsor of the study by JupiterResearch.

Because bloggers establish themselves as an authority on their subject, even in niche areas (niche marketing and social networks), the blog media can relate to the consumer much quicker than a social network. This can influence the reader, or consumer, much quicker at the time of purchase decision.

“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.”

Clickz, BuzzLogic, JupiterResearch
BuzzLogic is a marketing influence company that measures word-of-mouth interaction online, runs online ad campaigns, and hosts the Conversation Ad Network, an ad network built for social media and bloggers to help monetize niche topic Web sites.

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