Bloggers Influence Women to Purchase Beauty Products

BlogHer Inc. and DeVries Public Relations have conducted a survey which shows that bloggers are very influential resources for women who purchase beauty and personal care products. On the question “which resource is most helpful to provide beauty product advice and recommendations”, the most common response was “familiar blogger”, 61%, followed by “store website”, 46% and “social network”, 33%.

Half of the respondents say they even purchased a cosmetics product based on a recommendation from a blogger who write about topics other than beauty. Blogs are also 2.5 times more likely to drive beauty product purchases than magazines, according to the survey.

See the full presentation below. Respondents in the survey were 1,074 women, out of which 76.4% read and write blogs.

For similar statistics on blogger influence, please see my Swedish annual blog survey, BlogSweden 5 below.

Update: BlogHer moved the presentation, but the new version has been added here.

Why do I still blog?

In July 2004, I was part of Global PR Blog Week 1.0, an online event featuring PR bloggers from around the world, who discussed blogging and communications. Back then, I was fairly new to blogging and found it incredibly fun and valuable to be able to get together with likeminded from other countries and share thoughts and ideas about how new media would influence public relations. I can’t believe it’s been six years since Constantin Basturea brought the group together to create this week of blogging.

Anyway, John Cass who was one of the participants, blogged last week about fact that most of the PR bloggers from 2004 were still blogging.

“I’d like to ask the PR Blog Week Alumni from 2004 why they still blog, and what keeps them motivated? These old timers in blogging have been around a long time. Is blogs a thing of the past, or are we seeing a return to the glory days?”

I think for most people, blogging serves as a channel for self-expression. It’s a great tool for sharing your thoughts about just about anything, and to be able to actually get some kind of response. For the last five years I have asked Swedish bloggers about why they blog, or more specifically, why they started blogging. The series of surveys is probably the longest running annual blog survey in the world and the latest version called BlogSweden 5 (soon translated to English) revealed that the main reason why people begin to blog remains the same. People blog because they like to write, to express opinions and share what’s on their minds. But also for the social aspects. They network, get feedback and keep in touch with friends and family.

why do you blog

Table: from BlogSweden 5, a survey of 2,251 Swedish blog readers, out of which 94% had a blog.

In the report from my BlogSweden 3 survey in 2008, I tried to illustrate the answers from respondents (1,000 Swedish blog readers, of which 806 were bloggers) about what motivates them to use social media. This is not by any means a statistically proven model, but more my view of what drives people to blog, read blogs and participate in social networks. As you see in the image below, many factors motivate users, but some are more related to specific activities.


For me personally, blogging has always been a combination of things. First of all, it is a way to push myself to think deeper about a subject and to learn more. When you are forced to articulate your own opinion about a topic, you do more research and it seems to stick better in your memory. Then there is the social aspect. By writing a blog, I engage in a conversation with smart people and that is always a lot of fun. It is also a great way to build a good network. But perhaps most of all, my blogging has always been fuelled by the reactions from other people, who link to or comment about my content. The more (positive) reactions you get, the more fun it is to blog. And that’s where I have a real problem to motivate myself to blog these days. It seems that many people don’t have as much time to blog today as they used to, before Facebook and Twitter grew popular.

Below is a comparison between how much time Swedish bloggers spent reading blogs in 2009 vs 2010. Data is from my surveys BlogSweden 4 and BlogSweden 5. As you see below, it seems that the time spent reading blogs has decreased. Other data from the surveys suggest that bloggers still update their blogs as often as they used to, but updates are possibly not as time consuming as they used to be. For example, many bloggers now auto-update their blogs with shared links from Google Reader or Delicious, instead of writing their own original content.

5 bswe5 bswe4

I have also noticed that previously you could get several bloggers that linked to your content, while today that happens more seldom. Instead, people are keen on retweeting your blog links on Twitter, so traffic to the blog from other sources is still good, but maybe Twitter has increased in importance. If your post doesn’t get traction on Twitter, you don’t get a lot of readers.

So I don’t think that we are seeing a return to the glory days of blogging. Instead, maybe we are seeing a divided blogosphere between the bloggers that find value in creating original content and the bloggers that don’t want to spend as much time blogging but instead just share links with a short comment.

If you have been blogging for several years, what’s your motivation for still maintaining your blog?

Motivations why people use social networks

“Fear drives managers to ban social media at work” writes A poll of 424 professional communicators from around the globe showed that the number one reason to block social media sites was fear that these sites will impact productivity [negatively]. Security concerns ranked second and bandwidth concern ranked third among the reasons.

“Of those not allowed to use social media at work, 65 percent said their managers block access to sites like YouTube, Facebook and Flickr because they’re afraid employee productivity will suffer.”

– Most people are not going to abuse the privilege of using these sites, says Shel Holtz, one of my favourite podcasters.

I would like to agree with Shel, first because there are reasons to use social media that can have a positive impact on your job, and second because the line between work and spare time is becoming more and more blurry. As my Swedish readers will know, I have just conducted my own poll of 1,000 Swedish blog readers and I thought that this would be a good opportunity to give you a sneak preview of one of the survey questions.

When I asked 747 bloggers about the reasons why they are members of one or more social networks, the main reason was to “stay in touch with friends”. But several of the motivations are clearly work or career related:

* 61.6 said “as a way to stay in touch with former colleagues, classmates or suchlike”
* 54.1% said “to use as a common channel in which to communicate with friends/colleagues”
* 31.3% said “to network”
* 18.7% said “to connect with others in my profession”

Also, 43.0% said a reason was “to use technical features like sharing photos and such”, which could of course be both a private and work-related activity.

Blocking social media sites may not be an entirely good idea. There will always be people who abuse trust and would spend plenty of time on social media sites with non-work related activities, but I believe the benefits outweigh the risks in the long run.

Footnote: Stay tuned for the results of the BlogSweden 3/BloggSverige 3 survey.

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