Technorati’s Shani Higgins on the State of the Blogosphere

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TechTechnorati CEO Shani Higgins presented the annual State-of-the-Blogosphere at BlogWorldExpo this morning. Below are some of the more interesting stats Higgins released in a shotgun array of slides after slides with stats after stats.

When Mitch Joel, who has been blogging for about as long as I have, asked “what defines a blog today? Is Huffington Post a blog? Is an economist who presents an opinion on a site that looks like a blog a blog? Says Higgins, “the independent web is what blogs are….” In other words, not necessarily controlled by a brand or a publisher.

Of bloggers today, 61% are hobbyists. Professional part-timers make up 13%, corporate bloggers make up 8% and entrepreneurs, which is a new category this year is roughly around 13%.

Of bloggers geographically, 50% of bloggers still comes from the US, which apparently hasn’t changed much from last year. 65% are aged between 18-44 years old and 59% are male, which is down by 5%, meaning more women are blogging than last year this time.

An oustanding stat is that on average, bloggers have 3 blogs, 50% have been blogging 4+ years, 80% have been blogging 2 or more years, 44% blog 2-3 times per week or more, with pro segments blogging daily. One third of bloggers work in the mainstream media as a writer, reporter, producer or on-air personality.

Reasons Why People Are Blogging:

  • To share their expertise and experiences with others – 70%
  • To become more involved with their passion areas – 58%
  • To meet and connect with like-minded people – 50%
  • To gain professional recognition – 42%

Success Metrics – how bloggers measure their success in order of importance:

  • Personal satisfaction
  • Number of unique visitors
  • Number of comments
  • Backlinks from other bloggers

Social Media Use:

  • Google+ = 66% of probloggers (58% of all bloggers are on Google+)
  • Facebook – 92% of probloggers
  • Twitter is used to promote their blogs: 71% of all bloggers agree, and 90% of all probloggers agree.
  • Facebook – 50% of all bloggers have a separate account for their blogs, 75% of all probloggers. Of this group, bloggers are primarily using Facebook to promote their blogs. 37% of all bloggers say they link their Twitter & Facebook accounts.
  • Google+ users, 10% of all bloggers have a separate account for their blog, 27% for probloggers. Bloggers who primarily use Google+ to promote their blogs is 27% of all bloggers, 45% of probloggers. Only 13% of this group syndicate their content.

LinkedIn comes in after Facebook, Google+ and Twitter and Digg fell below Tumblr and Foursquare.

Social Media Drivers – in order of driving traffic:

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Stumble Upon, Google+, Tumbler, Flickr, Yelp, Vimeo, Plaxo, Picasa, Orkut, MySpace, Friendsster, Foursquare, and Delicious, with Digg coming in last.

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The number one influence for bloggers is other bloggers. In other words, 68% of bloggers look to other bloggers which determine things more than anything else aka “the influencers influence the influencers” says Higgins.

Brand Behavior:

Brand behavior is important, but just how important is the perception of the brand to a blogger? And, what is a blogger prepared to accept on their blog? Compared to last year, bloggers have increased their criteria for the kind of brand they’re willing to accept on their blog. Whether bloggers are influenced by a brand or company’s behavior:

  • 25% encouraged other bloggers to discourage other bloggers from using a brand.
  • Bloggers still boycott products and write about the fact that they boycott products and companies.

Professionalism:

The biggest complaint is that 60% of bloggers feel they are treated less professionally by brand representatives than traditional media, down from 64% in 2010, which isn’t significant.

Interactions:

  • 15% of bloggers characterize their interactions with brands as very favorable.
  • 34% of bloggers characterize their interactions with brands as favorable.

Access:

  • 51% want to work with brands directly
  • 49% want to work through an intermediary.

There are mixed reviews on brand interactions: less than 25% say brands provide value, or are knowledgeable about their blogs. In describing the communications bloggers receive from brands, bloggers felt that brands are not very knowledgeable about their blog, their content and blogging style, nor are they genuinely interested in learning about their content and what they cover. In other words, brands have to work much harder and get more personal. And, I’d add, listen.

Brand Programs:

86% of bloggers disclosed that a post was sponsored or paid.

58% disclosed they had received a product they reviewed.

The highest is product reviews, followed by sponsored posts, focus groups and spokesblogger or brand ambassador in that order. In terms of what their audience liked the best of this list, it was product reviews.

Tools that Brands Use:

Facebook 33%

Twitter 30%

Blogging 19%

Blogger outreach 12%

Majority of the above have only been using social media for only 1-2  years.

34% of them have their own blogs.

Money:

  • 4% of all bloggers and 37% of full time pros say blogging is their primary income.
  • 14% receive a salary for blogging with the average being around $24K, the highest report was $140K.

Revenue Streams:

  • Display ads represents 34%
  • Affiliate ads: 31%
  • Search ads: 27%
  • Paid Posts: 34%
  • Spokespeople: 5%

Blog Revenues:

The following results came from bloggers when asked what was the fee they’ve been paid for a single instance of the following:

  • Being a brand or product spokesman: $1,365
  • Paid to give speeches: $1,560
  • Paid to attend events: $1,018
  • Paid for a broadcast media appearance: $796
  • Received an item of high value to review or endorse: $409
  • Print or other media contributor: $935

Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World, a blog network dedicated to travel, culture and innovation and Magic Sauce Media, a branding and communications consultancy designed to help entrepreneurs and companies identify their voice and vision and put them on the global map using social media, viral marketing, events, targeted content and PR. For more of her writing and thinking, check out her columns which cover everything from technology and social media to food, travel, culture and music.

Renee Blodgett
Founder
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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