Insights on Women and Blogging.
Accurate statistics about online blogging are difficult, if not impossible to find. My quest lead me to numerous sources like technoratti.com, econsultancy.com , Mashable.com, Forrester Research and hitwise.com –firms that track and publish data on internet marketing, advertising and social media trends.
I uncovered some pretty mind-blowing statistics:
- The total number of internet users worldwide is 1,596,270,108 [Nielsen//NetRatings via Internet World Stats, April 2009]
- Global IP traffic is expected to increase fivefold from 2008 to 2013, approaching 56 exabytes per month in 2013, up from approximately 9 exabytes per month in 2008. [Source: Cisco, June 2009]
MIND BOGGLING! (What’s an Exabyte?)
- 55.6 million adults – or just less than 1/3rd of the population – in the US now visit social networks at least monthly, according to a new report from Forrester Research.
- On Blogpulse.com which is a Neilson company, you can track blogging statistics about online blogging live time. Here’s an example of what I found on June 5, 2010. This is updated by the second.
Total identified blogs: 126,861,574
New blogs in last 24 hours: 42,234
Blog posts indexed in last 24 hours: 888,137
The source doesn’t verify how many are active blogs and it doesn’t specify whether this is global or in the United States only, but these numbers are simply…
Overall, I struggled to find any meaningful statistics about online blogging. There are many challenges to tracking the information, including the fact that many blogs are inactive.
For this post, I was on a specific mission to find information about THE WOMEN who blog. The most “colorful” and up to date data I found is from Blogher.com, a participatory network of women who blog. It was designed to aggregate influence and to provide support for women bloggers. The site reaches 20 million unique women each month and lists over 25,000 blogs published by women. Buried deep within the advertisers section of their website, I found this report.
2009 Women and Social Media Study by BlogHer, iVillage and Compass Partnership http://www.blogher.com/files/2009_Compass_BlogHer_Social_Media_Study_042709_FINAL.pdf
It’s a very interesting study. Allow me to summarize…
Joint research conducted by Blogher.com, Compass Partnership and iVillage.com projects that there are 79 U.S women online weekly and 42 million of those U.S. women are engaged in some form of social media activity. Furthermore, they estimate that 23 million women participate in online blogging, including reading blogs and commenting on blogs. The actual number of women with published blogs was close to 8 million in 2009.
There is a clear difference in mindset between the women who publish the blogs and those who read the blogs. The women who publish blogs consider themselves to be tech savvy, on the leading edge of trends, and feel they are often sought after by friends and colleagues for advice. They spend a considerable amount of time on the internet in search of new products and services. Interestingly, they find their online friendships just as meaningful as their traditional friendships.
Why does any of this matter? Because women who publish successful blogs are thought leaders and influencers among their online communities. Advertisers recognize this and are allocating more advertising dollars to the sites of select women bloggers.
Those who do not publish blogs are at the other end of the spectrum. For this group of women, it is more about the pleasure and entertainment that comes from connecting with friends and family. They are not necessarily concerned about being thought leaders, nor do they consider themselves to be particularly tech savvy. However, they do turn to blogging communities for specific entertainment or information.
Blogging women (as a whole) spend a considerable amount of time on social media sites like Facebook.com, Cafemom.com and twitter.com, but they use blogging and social media in different ways. Social networking sites are considered to be more for entertainment, socializing and fun. Blogs, on the other hands, are frequented to follow certain niches, find specific product information or to receive recommendations and advice on specific topics.
The Blogher.com report attempted to get to the heart of the motivations to participate in blogs. Here is the list they published ranging from most popular to least popular:
- For fun (68%)
- Get information (64%)
- For entertainment (56%)
- Share opinions (55%)
- Stay up to date on friends/family (51%)
- Connect with others like me (51%)
- Stay up to date on specific topics (51%)
- Seek advice and recommendations (43%)
- Provide advice and recommendations (31%)
- Contribute to a community (27%)
- For professional purposes (14%)
The study found that age also drives online behavior. Blogging women were segmented into five different age groups of women from ages 18 – 77. Certain trends are fairly intuitive. For instance, the older the women are less likely to post status updates, download music, watch podcasts, or even visit social media sites. What surprised me are how many women, across the board use the internet to shop online (74%) and to make decisions about what they purchase (64%). To me, this is astounding. It seems no matter what our age, we have tremendous influence on retailers and manufacturers. We can vote with our dollars, ladies and we do.
Savvy marketers seem to be paying attention to these trends. I believe that direct placement of advertising dollars with influential bloggers, may eventually outpace the money spent on print media and television advertising. I will uncover more about this trend and report the findings in a future post.
In conclusion, women online are pretty much like they are offline.
We tend to keep things personal. We use social media primarily to shop, to be entertained, and to socialize. Online blogging is an important part of those activities. We like to gossip, share photos, and make recommendations to each other, just like we would at a neighborhood bunko game or Tupperware party. We have our “go to friends” in real life that we trust and turn to for great information on certain things. Through blogging, we have “go to friends” online. In short, we would rather get our information from a friend than from a stranger.
With life becoming busier and more complicated, social media will continue to boom. I predict that blogs will become more popular than traditional media, and the women who blog are directly in the path of that boom. This is a place where women can shine, and that, to me, is absolutely FABULOUS!