Blogs Influence Buying Decisions

Who knew? Really, there is an entire discussion around how all these Web 2.0 technologies influence the buying cycle, specifically of technology products.  There seems to be extra evidence surfacing that indicate technology products are well suited for blogs and influencing buyers.

In yesterday’s BtoB Online, a report indicated:

More than half of blog readers said they find them useful for purchase information, according to a new study by social media analysis firm BuzzLogic, fielded by JupiterResearch.

The study was based on an online survey of more than 2,200 Internet users conducted in August.

It found that among those users who find blog content useful for product decisions, 56% said blogs with a niche focus and topical expertise serve as key sources of information.

The top categories in which users find blogs useful for purchase decisions are technology products (31%), media and entertainment (15%), games and sporting goods (14%), travel (12%), automotive (11%) and health services (10%).

The study also found that 40% of blog readers have taken action as a result of viewing an ad on a blog.

But let’s not all get too excited.  Things to consider about this report are:

  • Survey indicates they asking “blog readers” their opinion – so it does not capture those who are more casual blog readers
  • No sense was given how much time is spent reading blogs or how many blogs they are reading
  • Would be nice to know more about how blog readers “discover” blogs that influence their decisions

It does make sense, however, that niche blogs that focus on technology or have content that help educate readers on how to make technology buying decisions, would be helpful and influential.

If you are considering starting a blog at your company, we recommend that you start out by subscribing to a few blogs for regular reading, and make comments on them from time to time.  Get a feel for the conversations, and how they flow before starting your own blog.  That way you won’t make the mistake of starting a blog that is not relevant to your audience, and does little to serve the informational needs of buyers in a your respective buying cycles.

Here’s a few of our favorite blogs in automation:

A few other blogs worthy of mention:

What are your favorite blogs to read?  Share your thoughts, thanks!

6 Comments

  1. Barbara Bix says:

    Hi Juliann,

    Useful to know! Two questions come to mind. The first is, “Would the same results apply for B2B?”. Technology is sometimes a B2B sale, but often a consumer sale and it’s not clear from the above whether the study considered both. The second is were the purchasers regular “blog readers” or did they happen upon the blog when searching for information pre-purchase? You hint at this when asking how users discovered blogs–or maybe just particular posts…The answer would of course affect strategy.

  2. Juliann Grant says:

    Barbara,
    Thanks for dropping by. It’s funny, because I wondered the same thing – is the B2B culture “blog readers” as it indicated for this audience. It seems that active blog readers are further along the curve in terms of “being influenced” by a blog or its author – this is opposed to others who are less active, and directed to a “blog” through other communications due to information seeking in pre-purchase as you indicate.

    But I think what we are seeing is the beginning of a rolling trend, and blogs will only grow in influence, especially those of innovators, experts in their field, who can share advise without traditional editorial filters. Especially as the line between consumer/B2B thins through social networks.

  3. Joe Lewis says:

    A favorite blog of mine is Seth Godin’s blog “http://sethgodin.typepad.com/”
    He stays very much focused, is edgy and has good thoughts even when you might disagree with him.

    I think blogs can and are successful in our process instrumentation and automation industry, but there must be a consistent and committed effort. Some blog start-ups like http://www.monitortech.typepad.com just didn’t have the support of the company and therefore the success was limited. Of course, I don’t work there any more so that had something to do with it LOL, not really, I have much to learn in this area.

  4. juliann says:

    Joe,

    Thanks the pointer to Seth’s blog. I keep tabs on Seth too, he’s certainly a thought leader in marketing.

    But I think that you hit upon a nugget that needs a little more light, and it was when you said

    ” Some blog start-ups like http://www.monitortech.typepad.com just didn’t have the support of the company and therefore the success was limited.”

    This is a huge issue. Any outward, customer facing strategy needs resources to back it up to be successful. Blogs especially. Nothing sends a worse message to your audience as an unattended, ignored blog. All of these outward facing communications in social media require a real commitment and it cannot just be an added task to a full plate. It requires it’s own dedicated resources to make it all work in the long run. Time is money… Thanks for dropping by.

  5. C.G. Masi says:

    Julianne —

    For more technical depth and relevance to automation engineers, check out the blogs at http://www.controleng.com/blogs.html.

    — C.G. Masi

  6. juliann says:

    Thanks, Charlie. We’ll add those a few of those links to our blog roll when we upgrade this blog software.

    Thanks for dropping by!
    Juliann

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