Women look to bloggers to guide purchases

Articles
June 03, 2009

Women look to bloggers to guide purchases

Marketers looking for communities of women to mine need to look no further than online. It’s where millions of women are displacing their use of traditional media. Out of a U.S. female Internet population of 79 million, the majority (53%, or 42 million) participate in social media activities between weekly and daily, reports a new study of women, The 2009 Women and Social Media Study, by BlogHer.com iVillage.com and Compass Partners. A look at the online habits of these women spanning the ages of 18 to 77, broke out their virtual destinations: • 75% or 31.5 million visit social networks such as Facebook and MySpace • 55% or 23 million either publish blogs, read blogs, or post to blogs • 40% or 16.8 million go to message boards and forums • 16% or 6.7 million update their status on Twitter The shift to virtual sources of information—particularly blogs—is accelerating, the research shows. Nearly four in 10 women (39%) among the general population read newspapers less, versus 22% who said this in the benchmark study released a year ago. Almost as many (36%) read magazines less, versus 25% who said this a year ago. Also, 31% listen to radio less, versus 20% who said this a year ago. And 30% watch television less, versus 24% who said this a year ago.

Marketers looking for communities of women to mine need to look no further than online. It’s where millions of women are displacing their use of traditional media.

Out of a U.S. female Internet population of 79 million, the majority (53%, or 42 million) participate in social media activities between weekly and daily, reports a new study of women, The 2009 Women and Social Media Study, by BlogHer.com iVillage.com and Compass Partners.  A look at the online habits of these women spanning the ages of 18 to 77, broke out their virtual destinations:
•    75% or 31.5 million visit social networks such as Facebook and MySpace
•    55% or 23 million either publish blogs, read blogs, or post to blogs
•    40% or 16.8 million go to message boards and forums
•    16% or 6.7 million update their status on Twitter

The shift to virtual sources of information—particularly blogs—is accelerating, the research shows. Nearly four in 10 women (39%) among the general population read newspapers less, versus 22% who said this in the benchmark study released a year ago. Almost as many (36%) read magazines less, versus 25% who said this a year ago.  Also, 31% listen to radio less, versus 20% who said this a year ago. And 30% watch television less, versus 24% who said this a year ago.

How influential are blogs? When asked, “Have you made a purchasing decision as a result of a recommendation or customer experience posted on…blog?” the vast majority (85%) said they had decided to purchase.

Women who publish blogs are not only significantly more active across all forms of social media, they are more product-oriented: 40% say the phrase, “invest time searching for new products and ideas online,” strongly applies to them. When they comment on their finds, they’re more influential than others: 33% say the phrase, “people tend to come to me for advice,” strongly applies to them.

“When the economy is top of mind for more than 70% of these active social media participants, women … are turning to online resources, including blogs, to help them make their day-to-day purchasing decisions,” says Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder and COO of BlogHer.com.  Indeed, 78% of women are considering purchases more carefully, and 73% are spending less overall, the study findings reveal.

Women regard the Internet as a valuable economic resource: 62% compare prices online more often, 48% spend more time online researching purchases, and 25% try to buy from “companies I know,” showed the research.

Among women who read and/or post comments to blogs, the topics of food (52%), health/wellness (49%) and recipes/cooking (44%) are in the third, fourth and fifth positions of popularity—trailing only personal and entertainment blogs, the study shows.