According to an exclusive Marketing Daily study, eight out of 10 Americans know what "blog" means, and almost half have visited the blogosphere--some as often as daily.
"The high awareness is surprising given that blogging is an emerging media outlet," says Tom Mularz, senior vice president at Synovate eNation, which conducted the online survey of 1,000 U.S. adults. "The segmentation on awareness and usage, and on people having their own blogs, is driven by age, with obviously younger people more active in blogging." Nearly 90% of 25- to-34-year-olds know what a blog is, compared to 64.5% of those age 65-plus. Similarly, 78.4% of 18- to-24-year-olds report they have visited a blog, compared to just 44.7% of older Americans.
Technorati reports there are 99.9 million blogs out there. With so many to choose from, it's no wonder that 54.4% of blog-readers surf a variety of blogs rather than remain loyal to the same sites, according to the eNation study. And an indication that the blogosphere is not too different from the real atmosphere: Men are more commitment-phobic than women. Nearly 60% of guys surf a variety of blogs, compared to 50% of women.
Almost half of the respondents said they visit blogs to be entertained. What types of entertainment have they given up now that they are reading and writing blogs? Any emerging media poses a threat to traditional media, but at present, 87% of the people who read blogs said they don't spend less time with other media now that they're reading blogs. Of the 13.3% who do say they have ditched old media habits, newspapers, television and magazines have taken the biggest hits.
"Blogging is incremental to other media that people use. This is a good omen," says Mularz. "That newspapers are being somewhat replaced is not surprising. Newspapers are under attack on a variety of fronts as new media outlets open up."
Ad spending on blogs is still in its infancy. A consulting group called Marketspace reports that 99% of gross online ad revenue is spent on the top 10 Internet sites. And a recent study by Nielsen BuzzMetrics and Nielsen's BASES research division found that new products with higher ad spending on traditional media tend to generate greater buzz in the blogosphere.
But the eNation study, conducted in late July, shows there is real potential for ads on blogs. Among people who have visited a blog (485), 43.2% said they have noticed ads on blogs, and three out of 10 people in this group said they have clicked on ads while visiting a blog. Among the youngest consumers, a whopping 61.2% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they have noticed ads on blogs.
Some advertisers are trying to slip brand names in through the blogosphere's back door by recruiting bloggers to write favorably about their brands. Recently, a rep for Marvin Windows and Doors sent a flattering (exact replica) e-mail to several house-bloggers (including this reporter at www.fixerupper.typepad.com) to "better understand how Marvin can better interact and inform you as a home remodeler and blogger."
She offered to provide "how to" tips and recommendations along with updates on company innovations and products. The company's "end, end goal," the rep said in a follow-up note, is to expand "Marvin's footprint as an expert in windows and doors." She teased at the potential for future promotions and advertising, but added, "That's really several months away."
"This does happen on a somewhat frequent basis," says Aaron Olson, who runs houseblogs.net, a network of house-bloggers. "Some are more 'above the board' than others and it really varies."
So who's blogging? Eight percent of Americans have their own blog. "That's high, given that blogging was unheard of a few years ago," says eNation's Mularz. It's also surprising that more women than men are bloggers (given that men tend to dominate the computer/tech fields). Nearly 14% of men versus 20% of women have blogs, eNation reports.