10 Insights on Social Media and Blogging Influence: New Research

Blogging started as personal online diaries, Twitter popped up first as an internal podcasting platform and Facebook was born out of a frustrated date.10 Insights on Social Media and Blogging Influence New Research

The journey of online publishing and social networks was never a grand plan but it is the evolution of humans playing on a web canvas that continues to surprise us with its speed, reach and role in influencing buying decisions, building trust and marketing personal and business brands.

A decade later the internet landscape is unrecognizable. We are all still learning about what works and what doesn’t.

A recent report on “Digital Influence” by Technorati Media provides some insights into the fast evolving landscape that provides some metrics on the digital landscape. It was created from information gleaned from over 6,000 influencers, 1,200 consumers and 150 top brand marketers.

Technorati Media has a reach of of approximately 130 million US unique visitors per month and has published reports in the past on the state of the blogsosphere.

Social media is a small part of digital advertising

The report shows that despite social media having enormous mind share it is only 10% of all digital advertising spending. It also reveals that online influencers such bloggers are not being included in marketing programs due to lack of metrics from the likes of Nielsen and Comscore and also the lack of understanding of the power they wield online.

Here are some insights that I gained from the “2013 Digital Influence Report“.

1. Blogs have significant influence on purchase decisions

Blogs are one of the top online services to influence a purchase. When making overall purchase decisions consumers rank blogs rank third behind retail and brand sites.  Despite this inflencing power brands are spending very little on blogging advertising and marketing initiatives with bloggers. 

Online services nost likely to influence a purchase

According to the Technorati Media research it seems this has more to do with a lack of metrics and the fragmentation that leads to their complexity as a purchasable medium.

In essence it seems it is too hard for brands to measure and buy advertising on blogs.

2. More Brands are on Instagram than Google+

When it comes to a social media presence the top three choices are clear. Facebook at 91%, Twitter at 85% and YouTube at 73%. The rest all then fall below 50%. What is surprising is that Google+ despite its rapid growth and its 500 million plus users is still struggling as a choice and relevance as a  platform that brands believe adds value to their digital marketing.

 The top 8 social media channels brands use

Blogs have a significant place in the top eight being placed at 6th at 32% above Instagram and Google+.

3. Social is only 10% of the digital advertising budget

You would thinks that with all the noise online about Facebook and Twitter that it would be a big part of paid advertising. The reality is much different than the buzz.

The top 3 include:

  1. Display ads such as banner website advertising – 41%
  2. Search advertising such as Google Adwords – 19%
  3. Video advertising including YouTube – 14%

Total spending on social media advertising is only 10% across all social media networks with Facebook taking 57% of that pie. Blogs only obtain 5% of the overall advertising budget that is allocated to social.

Digital Budget Advertising Spend Breakdown

What is interesting is that mobile is growing at 8%.

4. Over half of Brands have “earned” social media goals

Growing Facebook “likes is still the main objective for most marketers with website traffic, Facebook fans and Twitter followers following close behind. Brands are also placing major  earned goals against landing page visits, Retweets and comments.

Pinterest followers and repins are in the top 10.

Earned social media goals

What I do find surprising is how low the importance email has as an earned goal metric.

5. Brands aren’t taking much notice of Klout

When it comes to selecting which influencers to work with then the following metrics are the top four are:

  1. Audience index from Comscore and Nielsen
  2. Twitter 
  3. Facebook
  4. Basic blog statistics such as unique users and page views

Despite the only recent addition of Pinterest and Instagram to social media mind share they are in consideration as a an influencer metric. 

Brands measuring influencer attributes

Even though Klout,  Peer index and Kred are on the list they rank as less than neutral.

6. If you want to be an influencer you need to blog

Influencers have realized that to have their voice heard on a social web then they need to have a blog. The power of the reach and velocity of online publishing supercharged by social media cannot be underestimated.

A third of influencers also said that they have been blogging for five or more years.

If you want to be an influencer you need to blog

7. Text blogging dominates on influencers blogs

Despite the rise and use of multimedia it seems that text is still the main communication media. The magic of the written word is not going away anytime soon it appears

Text dominates influencers media choices

8. Facebook and Twitter dominate where influencers get social

Online influencers have realised that to communicate and message online that the two social networks that are mandatory are Facebook and Twitter. This can be seen in the blue metric below that shows Facebook is published to once a week 83% of the time and Twitter sits at 71%.

The rest such as LinkedIn and Google+ are not above 30%.

The research also show that  Facebook and Twitter create the most referrals, the most shares and generates the most revenue.

Where influencers get social

9. The majority of influencers make revenue from blogging.

Despite nearly two-thirds of influencers making money from blogging for 80% it generates less than $10,000 per year in revenue. 11% make more than $30,000 per year and 4% make more than $100,000 per annum.

Majority of Influencers make revenue from blogging

10. Banner advertising is the top revenue generator for bloggers

The top three by a large margin  include banner advertising in top position with text ads and affiliate programs at two and three. Sponsored content such as sponsored articles, product reviews and brand content round out the top 6.

The number of banner ads is an interesting metric with only 1% having more than 10.

Banner advertising


The report also makes some relevant insights into what the influencers major pain points were when being approached by brands.

Here are the top three.

  1. Brands expect that the bloggers time is available for free – 68%
  2. Pitches by brands are sometimes irrelevant – 50%
  3. Brands don’t listen to the blogger/influencers ideas about what works for their audience – 38%

It also appears that lack of knowledge of the role and the power of online influencers and the lack of available and trusted metrics is making it hard for brands to justify spending advertising budgets on influencer marketing.

Maybe that will change as measurement tools mature and brands realize the growing power of online bloggers and influencers.

What do you think?

Look forward to reading your comments below.

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  • http://www.seobooklab.com/ Ram Babu SEO

    Thanks Jeff to share theses awesome insights!

  • Marco Ciofetta

    I think that bloggers that want their work to be recognized by companies must bear in mind that who decides how to spend the communication budget of a company only likes one thing: NUMBERS. So if we want be paid what we deserve (becouse I believe THAT EVERY SINGLE LINE of you wrote in this post is the truth about the power of influencers using blogs) we have to show to companies what the real value of (PROFESSIONALY DONE) blogging is. To do that it is necessary to GATHER and PRESENT all the available data on direct and non direct conversions by analyzing the conversion funnel in such a way that the company’s decision makers will have those numbers they are so happy to see (and pay for!) (thank you Jeff to share with us pieces of your knowledge) Marco Ciofetta

  • http://smallbusinesstalent.com/ Stephen Lahey

    I found “3. Social is only 10% of the digital advertising budget” especially interesting. Having dealt with quite a few large U.S. companies in the consumer products space, ones who invest millions in their brand building efforts, it’s very clear to me that any perceived threat to their control over a carefully managed brand image is of great concern to their marketing execs. Makes sense. Social media are more interactive and far less under their control than traditional media. That’s one reason for less investment there at the moment, IMHO.

  • Elaine Griffin

    Great article, great info!

  • http://www.epreneur.tv/ Tehmina

    Wow, some amazing insights here Jeff, thank you! I found it surprising though that only 4% of influencers are making $100k or more a year through blogging – why do you think that is?

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      I think they are in it for the art and the passion not the money.

      • http://milaspage.com/ Mila Araujo

        Right on. :)

  • http://twitter.com/PunchbowlTrends Punchbowl Trends

    I really like how you broke down this info graphic into key takeaways. Very helpful. And some pretty interesting conclusions. Thanks Jeff.

  • Geoff Brandt

    Just found you. Great content.

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Thanks for dropping in Geoff. :)

  • http://dannybrown.me/ Danny Brown

    In fairness, this new “Digital Influencer” survey replaces the annual “State of the Blogosphere” survey, so Technorati’s report is naturally very skewed towards bloggers. The problem is, it misses where the real actionable conversations are taking place – communities, forums, message boards, as well as offline. It’s why the current online influence space is in need of an overhaul when it comes to what’s being measured.

    Blogs definitely playa strong part, but the medium is just one of many where true influence is concerned.

    • http://milaspage.com/ Mila Araujo

      I think you’ve hit a great point there Danny, I would also suggest that Brands don’t understand the online space as deeply as we are giving them credit for. When we talk about “brands” I like to think we are referring to companies who have invested knowledge into learning about doing their branding…this is very different than companies who are online. All business owners (or many) are trying to get into the online space but few have deeply considered what their brand is. Many have this antiquated idea of brand being logo- of course they are going to buy ads and banners it’s the easiest thing for them to understand – its like traditional advertising. They are at the mercy of their marketing agencies and lets not forget that many of the marketing agencies jut haven’t developed the deep knowledge yet. As you well know the books on this and areas of study are only being written or offered now. So, naturally businesses are doing what they can, in the easiest way to what they understand or what sounds good to them.

  • http://twitter.com/meetropool Ulrich Kiefer | 宋 可富

    People I hear say that the influence of FB is getting weaker faster than estimated..

  • http://www.travelbusinesssuccess.com/ Tourism Tim Warren

    Great article & info graphics.

    Awesome social media sharing buttons and set up. Well done.

    Can you you refer me to your blog master. I need some social media improvements on my blog that’s been active for over 6 years in the global B2B travel and hospitality space. Thanks

  • http://www.helenabowers.com/ Helena Bowers

    Wonderful analysis and summary of some pretty amazing stats. I find it interesting that banners and display ads are still so prevalent when for so long people have sworn that no one notices them anymore!

  • http://www.kaushalam.com/ Kaushalam

    The more influencing topic means the more engagement. Keeping this things in mind, one can create powerful content and start sharing it. Like, we do at,

  • Blogdash.com

    Thanks for the insights Jeff, this proves that blogging is an important content marketing tool that every business should consider doing.

  • http://www.markupcloud.com/ Mike Swan

    Simply superb facts @jeffbullas:disqus .

  • joanna@xposureuae

    I love the way you’ve put all the sm platforms into perspective. An excellent piece of content that I find very useful. Thanks!

    • http://jeffbullas.com Jeff Bullas

      Glad you enjoyed it Joanna :)

  • http://www.psdtowordpressexpert.com/ PSDtoWordPressExpert

    Really wonderful facts.