The BlogHer network now reaches more than 26 million women monthly, according to Nielsen stats from January. So when it taps that base to better understand social media, apps, couponing, gaming and other digital and social marketing efforts, listen up!
The BlogHer 2011 Social Media Matters Study, released this morning, sheds light on some key consumer trends trends, including a shift away from ‘corporate sources’ (read: branded social messaging) and celebrity endorsements for information, and towards trusted bloggers — which may not be a huge surprise for a group that considers its members as trusted bloggers.
Of the survey respondents, 47% said they check blogs for new trends or ideas; 35% check for new products; and one in four solicit help in making a purchase decision.
Other findings include:
• 78% say they "actively" use social media
• 20% give more weight to products promoted by or with a blogger they know, vs. promotions featuring a celebrity endorsement (12%)
• Groupon and LivingSocial are used by over half (51%)
• 53% have bought a product based on a blog recommendation
• The top three items they seek information about online: consumer electronics (35%), computer hardware/software (33%) and movies (33%)
• Becoming increasingly important: food/beverage (67%) and clothing/shoes (67%), with movies coming in third at 62%.
The BlogHer 2011 Social Media Matters Study, co-sponsored by Ketchum and fielded by Nielsen, compares two user samples: a general sample size of 1,771, and a BlogHer sample size of 2,861.
We last looked at BlogHer's e-commerce research; and to get more insights into this latest survey, we spoke with BlogHer co-founder and COO Elisa Camahort Page:
What are the key similarities and differences in the BlogHer cohort and the general U.S. female online user population?
The BlogHer cohort continues to trend at about a year to 18 months ahead of the general U.S. female online user on adoption of many online tools... and in intensity of passion for and trust in those apps.
The introduction of mobile platforms that are at once more sophisticated and more user-friendly has created an environment where everyone can be an "early adopter." There is little barrier in price or effort to try new services, tools, applications.
What surprised you most when it came to the study findings?
It is pretty amazing to see the adoption rates of some pretty new services. The demonstration of how experimental the general population Internet user is willing to be is really exciting. It's also surprising how overwhelmingly positive social media users feel about their social media experiences.
Does the influence of female bloggers extend beyond purchase of goods in any quantifiable ways – and if so, how?
Absolutely. Blogs help women feel informed and empowered about a number of key socio-political concerns and issues. We asked what issues kept our audience up at night, and then what media source helped them feel most informed and empowered about those issues.
When it comes to personal concerns particularly...such as our own health or our family's, our kid's education, our own time and life balance...blogs were ranked as the number one resource for the women in the BlogHer community.
Are there key gender usage differences?
Since we started surveying men these past two years, we can see some differences emerge. Men do tend to use blogging more as a megaphone, women more as a hub for both output and input. For women, it's about connection, expression and personal empowerment, and it has remained consistently about that for the last four years.”