Since women turn to online sources for information during critical times in the purchase decision process, marketers might benefit from knowing that 35% turn to sources at the beginning of the process and 42% at the end to narrow their choices, according to BlogHer's Fifth Annual Women and Social Media study.
The study identifies emerging platforms that women use to gain information about products and services. It also traces the connection to specific media channels and analyzes the influence of each on purchase behavior.
Seventy-seven percent of women use Facebook for fun, while 87% turn to Facebook to remain up to date with with family. More than 61% of active blog readers admit to making purchases based on a blog recommendation, nearly double the rate of Facebook and Twitter active users -- 33% and 31% -- respectively.
Purchase conversion among the BlogHer community was 87%.
While Facebook ranks the highest for fun and keeping up with friends and family, blogs rank the highest in learning about new products and research recommendations that can turn into purchase decisions. Some 41% seek out blogs to learn about new products, 39% look for product recommendations, and 36% use blogs to make purchase decisions.
Aside from Facebook, the BlogHer community tends to gravitate toward emerging tools. Some 43% use Instagram and 77% use Pinterest, compared with the general population at 11% and 19%, respectively.
Women don't rely on mobile devices to access social sites when they are shopping. Only 9% of the general population, daily blog readers, compared with 17% of the BlogHer community, access social sites on a mobile phone when shopping in a store.
When asked to determine the up-and-coming media, 78% of the BlogHer community participating in the survey said mobile apps, 75% said Twitter, 39% coupons, and 22% location apps such as Foursquare. These results compare to the general U.S. population, at 40%, 21%, 41%, and 14%, respectively.
Where do women go to find online and offline inspirational sources for cooking? Some 82% of BlogHer community members go to food blogs; 80%, recipe Web sites; 58%, Pinterest; 60%, cookbooks; 44%; magazines; and 17%, TV shows. This compares with the general U.S. population at 15%, 63%, 8%, 52%, 32%, 30%, respectively.
BlogHer worked with market research and analysis firm Vision Critical and its network of 37 million unique visitors in February to ask 2,000 members how and why women use social media tools.