The 2013 Digital Influence Report from TechnoratiMedia has been released, and in addition to analyzing how brands connect with online influencers to promote products and services, the report analyzes how influence is created.
The study results come from a survey of over 6,000 influencers, 1,200 consumers, and 150 top brand marketers. The first key finding is that consumers rank blogs as one of the five “most trustworthy” sources for information on the internet—above Twitter, Google+, and brand sites but just below news sites, Facebook, retail sites, and YouTube. When making purchase decisions, consumers rank blogs as the third most influential online source for information, just behind retail and brand sites.
In other words, long-form content from sources that are perceived to be unbiased are considered to be more trustworthy to consumers than short-form social sites where those consumers actually know many of the people with whom they communicate.
Unfortunately, brands haven’t caught onto this yet. Brands are still investing more of their digital marketing budgets and influencer outreach efforts to large sites rather than the niche sites with small communities that 54% of consumers agree are both more trustworthy and have greater influence than sites with large communities.
Nearly nine out of 10 influencers have blogs (86%). In fact, influencers are most active online on their blogs. 31% of influencers who blog have been doing so for more than five years, and most bloggers operate two to five blogs (52%). Another 43% operate just one blog.
The TechnoratiMedia study also analyzed how influencers create their influence through their online publishing activities. First, the study reveals the primary ways that influencers publish content:
- Text = 86%
- Photos = 38%
- Microblogging = 31%
- Videos = 10%
- Audio = 4%
The study also found the following breakdown of the types of original content influencers publish on their blogs:
- Editorials = 74%
- Photos = 44%
- Facebook update = 41%
- Tweets = 41%
- Videos = 15%
Bottom-line, influencers gain their influence by publishing useful, trustworthy, original, and authoritative content. That type of content gets noticed, gets shared, and drives long-term, organic, and sustainable growth. This is exactly what brands want, so hopefully, brands will start investing more heavily in effective influencer programs in the future.
Unfortunately, 68% of influencers complain that brands expect that their time is free and 50% complain that they get too many irrelevant pitches from brands each day. Influencers, bloggers, brands, and consumers will benefit when these complaints are resolved.
Image: Svilen Milev