Blogging Hits Mainstream, Integral to Media Ecosystem

October 7, 2008

This article is included in these additional categories:

Media & Entertainment | Retail & E-Commerce | Social Media | Technology

Bloggers collectively create nearly one million blog posts each day, and half of bloggers believe blogs will be a primary source of news and entertainment in the next five years, according to Technorati’s 2008 State of the Blogosphere Report.

The report, which was published on Technorati’s website over the course of a work week, covered five broad topic areas relating to the state of blogging: Who bloggers are, how they blog, blogging for profit and brands in the blogosphere.

Though there is no widespread agreement on the size of the blogosphere, 133 million blog records have been indexed by Technorati since 2002. This growing number- and the blurring of lines between blogs and mainstream media – indicate that blogs have hit the mainstream, and now have representation in top-10 website lists across all key categories.

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Bloggers are important to watch, Technorati said,? because as they are often the first ones to use new web applications and are highly influential in speeding adoption.

Characteristics of Bloggers

Fully half of bloggers believe that blogs will be a primary source for news and entertainment in the next five years, and one in five believe newspapers will not survive the next 10 years. US bloggers’ media consumption habits differ significantly from average Americans’:

  • The average blogger has been blogging about three years.
  • Bloggers spend twice as much time online as US adults age 18-49, and spend only one-third as much time watching TV.
  • Non-blog web content is more influential among bloggers than traditional media.
  • Bloggers participate in an average of five Web 2.0 activities, such as RSS and Twitter, while they are online.
  • More than eight in 10 bloggers post product or brand reviews, and almost nine in 10 blog about brands they feel strongly about.
  • Men and women are equally likely to blog about products or services.
  • One in three bloggers has been approached to be a brand advocate. Of those, more than six in 10 were offered payments of some kind.
  • 37% of bloggers have been quoted in traditional media based on a blog post.
  • Among bloggers, other blogs are the most influential form of brand messaging. Twice as many bloggers look to other blogs compared?with TV, print, or outdoor advertising.

Top Tools and Tactics

The top traffic-building strategies cited by bloggers include listing their blogs on Technorati and Google, commenting on or linking to other blogs, participating in a blogroll or blog directory, and tagging blog posts to make them easily searchable.

Other findings:

  • Active bloggers conduct an average of five different activities to attract visitors, and 28% do at least seven activities.
  • Bloggers link to and from other sites and have a median number of 29 links from their blog to other websites and a median of 30 links from other websites to their blog.
  • Bloggers make use of a variety of technological tools to attract visitors. Top audience-building strategies include listing a blog on Technorati and Google, commenting or linking to other blogs, tagging blog posts using RSS feeds and widgets.
  • Technorati’s top 100 bloggers are twice as likely to use tags in their posts. The three most popular tags in June were “News” (appearing close to 200,000 times during the month, “Music” (appearing 71,531 times), and “Internet” (appearing 56,849 times)).
  • More than eight in ten have a commenting system, archived posts, and have built-in syndication. Others use video and photos on their blog, or update their blog via a mobile device. On average, bloggers use seven of the 13 tools listed.

Topics for Bloggers

Though the subjects that bloggers cover run the gamut, the most popular are personal/lifestyle topics and technology. Posting product brand reviews is one of the most prevalent activities that cuts across topics.

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  • Four in five bloggers post brand or product reviews, with 37% posting them frequently. Some 90% of bloggers say they post about the brands, music, movies and books they feel strongly about.
  • Company information or gossip and everyday retail experiences are discussed by the majority of bloggers.
  • One-third of bloggers have been approached by companies to be brand advocates.
  • Bloggers are very sophisticated in leveraging the available tools to make their blogs more robust.

Blogging for Profit

The majority of bloggers who responded to the survey have advertising on their blogs. Among those with advertising, the mean annual investment in the blog is $1,800. The mean annual revenue is $6,000 with $75K+ in revenue for those with 100,000 or more unique visitors per month.

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Bloggers are sophisticated in using self-serve tools for search, display and affiliate advertising, and are increasingly turning to ad and blog networks. Many bloggers without advertising may consider it when their blogs grow.

Bloggers with advertising invest significantly more time and money in their blogs than bloggers who don’t, Technorati said. This group also is more sophisticated in the technology tools it uses, its ad platforms and events it employs to build reader loyalty:

  • On average, professional and corporate bloggers are more likely to include search ads, display ads, and affiliate marketing.
  • One in four bloggers uses three or more means of advertising.
  • The average annual blogger revenue is more than $6,000, though this is skewed by the top 1% of bloggers who earn $200K+.
  • The mean investment in blogs over the past year is $1,000 and the median investment is $50.
  • Bloggers with advertising invest an average of $1,800 annually in their blogs.
  • US bloggers earn an average of $5,000, though bloggers in Asia earn 50% more on average and European bloggers, who are likely to invest more in their blogs, earn an average of 75% more than US bloggers.
  • Bloggers are enjoying CPMs on parity with large publishers.

Blogger Analytics

Nearly all (95%) of bloggers know how many readers they have, with only 5% saying they don’t know how many monthly pageviews their blog receives. To track unique visitors, the majority of bloggers use Google. However, bloggers use a range of tools for other site analytics, with survey respondents mentioning more than 100 different tracking tools.

Key findings:

  • Google Analytics is the most common tracking tool (used by two-thirds of bloggers).
  • Sitemeter and Statcounter used by one in five bloggers.
  • 42% use more than one service/provider for their analytics.
  • More than 100 different tracking tools are used.

About the survey: Technorati emailed a survey invitation to a random sample of Technorati registered users around the world. To qualify for the survey, respondents needed to be bloggers age 18+. The survey was hosted by Decipher Inc., was in the field from July 28, 2008 through August 4, 2008, and received 1,290 completed responses from 66 countries across six continents.

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