The Blogosphere is constantly changing and evolving. In 2011 we are seeing bloggers updating their blogs more frequently and spending more time blogging. The type of information influencing blogging has shifted from conversations with friends, which was the primary influence in 2010, to other blogs, which for 68% of bloggers are having more of an influence in 2011.
This year we have chosen to display our results according to five different types of bloggers:
1) Hobbyist: The backbone of the blogosphere, and representing 60% of the respondents to this survey, Hobbyists say that they “blog for fun” and do not report any income. Half of hobbyists prefer to express their “personal musings” when blogging. 60% indicate they spend less than three hours a week blogging, yet half of hobbyists respond individually to comments from readers. Because 72% blog to speak their minds, their main success metric is personal satisfaction (61%).
2-3) Professional Part- and Full-Timers: These bloggers represent 18% of our total group. They are independent bloggers who either use blogging as a way to supplement their income, or consider it their full-time job. Most of these professional bloggers don’t consider blogging their primary source of income. This group primarily blogs about personal musings and technology
4) Corporate: Corporate bloggers make up 8% of the blogosphere. They blog as part of their full-time job or blog full-time for a company or organization they work for. These bloggers primarily talk about technology and business in their blogs. 70% blog to share expertise, 61% to gain professional recognition, and 52% to attract new clients. They have found that blogging has given them greater visibility in their industry (64%) and company (63%). 63% of corporate bloggers use their number of unique visitors to measure success.
5) Entrepreneurs: 13% of the blogosphere is characterized as entrepreneurs, or individuals blogging for a company or organization they own. 84% of these bloggers blog primarily about the industry they work in, with 46% blogging about business and 40% about technology. 76% blog to share expertise; 70% blog to gain professional recognition; and 68% to attract new clients for their business.
WHO ARE THE BLOGGERS?
We started with a basic inquiry about the identity of the respondents. Roughly three fifths are male, a proportion that holds true over all blogger types. Not surprisingly, a majority of bloggers are in the 25-44 age range – but a third are over 44.
Although our survey was administered only in English, bloggers responded from 45 countries, with nearly half from the United States.
U.S. bloggers are pretty evenly distributed across the country. The states with the highest concentrations of bloggers are: California 15%, New York 7%, Texas 6%, Florida 5%, Illinois 4%, Massachusetts 4%, Virginia 4%, Washington 4%, Georgia 3%, Maryland 3%, Michigan 3%.
We inquired into the education level of the respondents:
Income: While half of Corporates receive no annual salary for blogging, and the mean non-salary income of that blogger type was $17,101, 54% report an annual household income of $50,000 or more. This seems to indicate that the majority of Corporates are using any revenue from blogging as a supplement to their household income.
Interestingly, only 37% of Professional Full Time respondents say they derive their primary income from blogging.
- Of these Professional Full Time bloggers, 55% are a parent (and 57% of Entrepreneurs are a parent). That’s almost 10% higher than other segments of bloggers (46% of Hobbyists, 48% of Professional Part Timers, and 48% of Corporates).
- As we would expect, Professional Full Time bloggers are much less likely to be (otherwise) employed full time, much more likely to be self-employed, and somewhat more likely to be a stay-at-home parent or retired.
- Professional Full Timers (56%) and Entrepreneurs (63%) are also more likely to be married than Hobbyists (51%), especially Entrepreneurs, who are 12% more likely.
- Professional Full Timers skew older when compared to all other bloggers: Only 28% are under 34 years old, vs. 38% overall.
- Professional Full Timers are fairly highly educated – 41% have at least some graduate work (31% have an actual graduate degree). This is lower than the 55% of Corporate bloggers who have done at least some grad work, but likely high relative to the general population.
We see a picture of Professional Full Timers as slightly older and likely to be in life circumstances (such as having another income due to marriage, or being currently a stay-at-home parent) that allow them time to pursue professional routes such as blogging. While they are not more educated than other bloggers, it is interesting that they are still relatively highly educated compared to the general population and therefore more likely to have expertise in specialized topics which their blogs give them an opportunity to leverage.
The majority of bloggers have been blogging for at least two years.
60% of respondents say they blog up to three hours per week, with the rest (40%) bloggingmore than three hours per week. 13% of all respondents say they blog more than 10 hours per week—as do 63% of Professional Full Timers.
The majority of respondents update their blog two to three times per week. Professional Full Time bloggers tend to update their blog more frequently than any other bloggers, with 26% reporting that they update their blog at least three times per day.
With the exception of Professional Full Time bloggers, most indicate that they are updating their blog about as often as when it first launched. 44% of Professional Full Time bloggers report blogging a lot more frequently than they did when they first launched their blog.
A large number of respondents who are blogging more are driven by both personal and professional benefits to do so. Along with their interactions with their audience, many Corporate bloggers (64%) and Entrepreneurs (73%) say they are blogging more because it has proven to be valuable for promoting their business and also valuable to their profession (60%)
The key driver of decreased blogging is an increase in work and family commitments, which is reported as a factor by 61% of respondents who are blogging less. Consistent with last year’s findings, a fair number of respondents who are blogging less said that their devotion to social networks (31%) and microblogging (29%) has curtailed their blogging.
BLOGGERS AND THE TRADITIONAL MEDIA
We continue to see a very large overlap between bloggers and traditional media. Almost one third of bloggers have worked for the traditional media, with a monthly magazine being the most common form (41%). 55% of Professional Full Timers and half of all Corporate bloggers have worked for a monthly magazine in the past. Of those who have worked with traditional media, 24% are still employed and blog separately.
Nearly all (96%) bloggers have an independent blog.
81% report that their blog is part of a non-media company.
The blogosphere is influencing itself – respondents say that the number one influence on the topics they blog about are other blogs they read, a huge jump from 2010. Conversations with friends and social media accounts are also influencing blogging topics.
38% of respondents say they blog about brands that they love or hate. 33% of Professional Part Timers post reviews at least once a week.
Among Hobbyists and Professionals working with brands, product reviews have elicited the most positive response. Among Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers, the best response has come from advice or consultative content.
65% of bloggers use social media to follow brands, and this holds fairly consistently across blogger types, indicating a common practice. Further, blogging on these brands is a common activity.
Bloggers are being actively courted. Nearly four out of 10 overall, 59% of Professional Part Timers, and 66% of Professional Full Timers have been approached to write about or review products. Pros are approached eight times per week on average. The most frequently approached Hobbyist, Professional Part Time, Professional Full Time, and Entrepreneur bloggers report being approached more than 200 times per week.
The majority of bloggers report that they are influenced by the overall behavior of a brand or company. Close to 20% of bloggers report that they boycott products as a result.
Nine out of ten bloggers (91%) say it is important that the advertising on their blogs align with their values. Corporate bloggers see this as less important, with 11% agreeing that advertising does not need to align with values.
The majority of bloggers feel that bloggers are treated less professionally by brand representatives compared to traditional media.
Among those bloggers working with brands, most who have an opinion characterize their interactions with brand representatives as somewhat favorable, but a full 40% don’t know – indicating these relationships are still emerging. Among those who work with brands, most would prefer to work directly rather than with an intermediary.
Professional Full Time bloggers view communications from brands as valuable for the most part, though 19% say brands are asking for things that would hurt bloggers’ credibility or content standards.
Product reviews are the most common type of brand programs among bloggers. Professionals also participate in traditional PR announcement coverage and sponsored posts.
More than half of respondents indicate they would participate in product reviews.
Most (86%) – but not all – bloggers who participated in sponsored posts indicate that they disclosed that the post was sponsored or paid.
After reviewing a product, 58% disclosed that they had been given the product for review, and 53% kept it.
Among those working with brands, 45% are aware of the FTC ruling on disclosure. Professional Part Timers and Full Timers have higher awareness (56% and 64% respectively) of it. 59% said the ruling had not had any effect on their blogging activities.
We asked bloggers to name their most and least favorite brands to work with. There is a lot of overlap, particularity with Apple and Microsoft. Google and Amazon really stand out as favorite brands to work with, and don’t resonate much as least favorite brands.
We asked respondents for their views on blogging vs. other types of media. Among other things, we found that more than two thirds believe their blogs are getting taken more seriously as sources of information, with 76% of Professional Full Timers agreeing.
Overall, 14% of bloggers spend at least 21 hours per week visiting social media sites. About two thirds spend less than an hour watching TV shows on their computer, tablet or smartphone or uploading photos to photo-sharing sites.
This is the second year we surveyed consumers on their trust of and attitudes toward the media they consume. Compared with other media, blogs continue to outpace other social media and many traditional media in terms of trust and generating consumer recommendations and purchases. Facebook remains somewhat influential, but less so than blogs, and Twitter has seen a drop in influence over the past year.
Among Professionals, Corporates, and Entrepreneurs, the leading metric of success is the number of unique visitors, while 42% of Professional Part Timers and 38% of Professional Full Timers cited revenue as the leading metric compared to 13% of respondents overall. 69% of Hobbyists say that personal satisfaction is a way they measure the success of their blog, compared to 57% of Professional Part Timers, 49% of Professional Full Timers, 40% of Corporate bloggers and 47% of Entrepreneur bloggers.
Asked by what measure they rank themselves against other bloggers, respondents overall cited personal satisfaction as number one, with the number of unique visitors coming in second.
70% of all bloggers use their blog to share their expertise and experience with others. Professionals also use their blog as a way to make money or supplement their income. Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers are looking to gain professional recognition, while also using their blog as a way to attract new clients to their business.
Asked what is the primary reason they blog, the greatest number of respondents overall said they use their blog as a way to share expertise and experience with others. Many Hobbyists use it as a source to speak their mind on an area of interest (31%) while Entrepreneurs primarily use their blog to attract new clients to their business (29%).
Overall, respondents seem to feel that blogging has had a positive impact on their personal life. 54% of respondents agree that they have made friends through their blog, and the same number agree that they have become more involved with their passion areas as a result of blogging. More than 60% of Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers have gained greater visibility in their industry through blogging.
Almost half of respondents primarily blog about the industry they work in, but there is a clear progressive increase of this likelihood as blogging activity advances from hobby, to professional, and on to corporate or entrepreneur.
36% of all bloggers have been quoted in the traditional media for something they posted on a blog and more than half of Professional Full Time bloggers have been quoted.
Over half of respondents plan on blogging more frequently in the future and 52% plan on expanding the topics they blog about.
Personal musings are most blogged about by Hobbyists, while Professional, Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers tend to blog about technology. Business is also a very popular topic for Corporate and Entrepreneur bloggers.
79% of all respondents describe their blogging style as “sincere,” and 67% describe their style as “conversational.” Professional, Corporates, and Entrepreneurs also describe their style as “expert.
According to bloggers, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami generated the greatest amount of buzz in the blogosphere this past year. 38% of respondents said they read about the earthquake and tsunami on blogs and 10% blogged about it themselves.
22% felt that the Arab Spring received the greatest positive impact from the blogosphere. Conversely, 13% of respondents felt that blogs had the most negative impact on the controversy surrounding the Florida pastor who wanted to burn the Quran.
According to Technorati’s index, a minority of bloggers are posting daily, or even weekly. Further, the Technorati index skews to more active bloggers – presumably they have listed their blog with Technorati because they are actively creating content and want others to find it. Active blogging is clearly rewarded. When looking at average posts per month and per day by Technorati Authority, bloggers in the Top 100 generate 36 times more content than the average blogger. We also see a higher use of tags as part of their arsenal of strategies to bring audiences to their content, with 92% of the Top 100 bloggers using tags.
The top 30 tags used in 2011 are:
Most respondents’ blogs are individual blogs. Blogging Collectives are most common among Corporate bloggers, where they account for 35%.
WordPress is the most popular blog hosting service among all respondents, used by 51%. Blogger and Blogspot hosting services are also popular (21% and 14%).
Nearly 90% of bloggers are using some form of multimedia on their blogs, the most popular form being photos. Half of all bloggers surveyed use video on their blog, while another 10% use audio.
Of those using multimedia, slightly more create these assets themselves than repurpose them from other sites.
Among respondents who create assets, 48% of the multimedia they post is their own creation. This is down significantly from 67% in 2010.
Particular blogging tools are very widespread among bloggers, especially built-in syndication (75%) and social sharing widgets (75%), as well as site search (58%). Among bloggers who use built-in syndication, the majority (76%) support full content.
87% of respondents either moderate comments or respond individually to comments. Corporate bloggers are the least likely to respond individually.
Professional Full Timers have seen the most impact from the adoption of tablets and smartphones, with almost a third (32%) indicating their blogging style has changed.
Those impacted by tablets and smartphones indicate they are using photos and images (45%) more often and writing shorter posts (43%).
Bloggers continue to pay close attention to their readership: 65% use a third-party service to track their blog’s traffic. Across bloggers, Google Analytics is by far the most popular service.
Professional bloggers receive the most views, with over half of the blogs viewed more than 10,000 times per month. 58% of bloggers using third-party analytics receive fewer than 5,000 page views per month.
Professional bloggers receive the most unique visitors per month, with more than a third having over 10,000 unique visitors.
Of the 14% of bloggers who earn a salary for blogging, the average annual amount is $24,086. Corporate bloggers earn more, averaging $33,577 per year.
Most are not paid per post, but half of those who are earned less than $25 per post on average.
About half of all bloggers paid by the post earn less than $1,000 per year from per-post fees.
Display ads, affiliate marketing links, and search ads are the most common ways bloggers generate revenue from their blogs. 60% of Corporate bloggers said they do not have any advertising on their blog.
Our screening requirements for Professional Full-Timers is self-stated from the answer option “I am an independent blogger and consider it my full-time job.” While they may consider blogging their full-time job, that does not necessarily mean that they earn revenue. These respondents may be similar to “start-up stage” companies that often work to establish a base without pay for at least a period of time. Last year, 53% of self-employed and 30% of Professional Part-Timers said they didn’t earn revenue (the percentage of Pro Part-Timers not earning revenue is down to 8% this year – most likely a sign of an improving economy and growing interest in bloggers by marketers.
Most blog-related revenue is generated through giving speeches on blogging topics and advertising.
Bloggers invest the most money in their own blogging salary.
Among those who do not have advertising on their blogs, 52% say they do not have advertising because they don’t want their blogs to be cluttered with ads, while 38% said they don’t have enough visitors to make it worthwhile. Another 36% are not interested in making money on their blog.
Among those with advertising on their blog, 60% use self-serve tools, while 50% have affiliate advertising links on their site.
Among bloggers with advertising, close to half allow rich media and paid posting. Few allow interstitials and pop-ups.
Original Source: Technorati