Blogs as Online Influencers

It seems that bloggers might be delusional about influence, even as traffic and (engaged) social media presences has grown. In our particular vertical, bloggers have particularly begun to do well with affiliate marketing campaigns which are 100% based on converted consumers. It turns out, it when you ask consumers, according to the  Technorati Digital Influence Report 2013,  a study that surveyed 6,000 influencers, 1,200 consumers and 150 top brand marketers,  the numbers are compelling:

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We came in third at 31.1%. After retail sites, and brand sites, which makes sense because more often than not, people who are already on a brand or retail site is there to buy. However when it comes to blogging, a good portion of blogs are indeed editorial, and they do help consumers discover new products that might not have crossed their paths.

Blogger Campaigns Make a Sliver of Digital Budgets

“Where brands are spending is not fully aligned with how and where consumers are seeing value and being influenced.”

Brands understand the value of blogging but uncertain as to how much to invest in them. The budgets are quite small for blogging campaigns compared to advertising campaigns, (just 6% of the social media budget, which is 10% of the digital marketing budget).  Blogger budgets are not expected to get any bigger in the coming year. The report stated, “Where brands are spending is not fully aligned with how and where consumers are seeing value and being influenced. This has much to do with an essential hurdle faced by most content creators: a lack of metrics and the fragmentation that leads to their complexity as a purchasable medium.”

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Brands are not completely sure what they are looking for in a successful blogger campaign. The metrics have not been established between blogger and brand, this is true. Perhaps it’s time that bloggers start understanding this as part of their monetization strategy? Perhaps brands need to take this into account when working with a blogger? It’s apparent that something needs to be done to close the disconnect.

Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better

Interestingly enough, 54% of consumers believe that the smaller the community the bigger the influence. It is interesting because a lot of the brands I have talked to say they want “up and coming bloggers,” then turn around and try to get the top influences, for more of the same-old, same-old. This chart explains consumer’s belief in the trustworthiness of smaller communities.  Here is an example where no community should consider themselves too small to start tracking metrics.  In fact, even more vital because if the consumers are being influenced by your a community, brands might overlook the conversion rates where they could possibly have even greater success.

If you ever need more of a reason to narrow down your niche:

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According to the report, brands are expected to increase their digital marketing budgets this year, the biggest jump will be in mobile advertising. It seems like the ball is in the blogger’s court to understand how their readers engage and could possibly convert into consumers for brands. It’s hard to balance this with turning out editorial content, this I know. But as a community, if understanding the business end isn’t taken seriously, it will indeed be a huge missed opportunity.