It’s Time to Take Blogs Seriously

    August 29, 2007

While blogs are becoming more and more popular, there’s still a lot to be desired, according to reports from MediaPost and eMarketer today. While many people have heard of and even read blogs, there’s still a lot of room to grow in the blog advertising and business blogging arenas.

“It’s getting to the point where everybody knows what a blog is,” begins an article in today’s MediaPost (registration required). In an online survey of 1000 U.S. adults by Synovate eNation, nearly 8 in 10 said they knew what a blog was, and half had visited the blogosphere. (The other half, I suppose, were lying when they said they knew what a blog was…)

MediaPost adds that blog familiarity was more prevalent in the under-65 set:

Nearly 90% of 25- to-34-year-olds know what a blog is, compared to 64.5% of those age 65-plus. Similarly, 78.4% of 18- to-24-year-olds report they have visited a blog, compared to just 44.7% of older Americans.

Also, 54.4% of blog readers surf a variety of blogs without much loyalty.

MediaPost goes on to explore blog monetization and the untapped potential there for bloggers and advertisers:

A consulting group called Marketspace reports that 99% of gross online ad revenue is spent on the top 10 Internet sites. . . .

But the eNation study, conducted in late July, shows there is real potential for ads on blogs. Among people who have visited a blog (485), 43.2% said they have noticed ads on blogs, and three out of 10 people in this group said they have clicked on ads while visiting a blog. Among the youngest consumers, a whopping 61.2% of 18- to 24-year-olds said they have noticed ads on blogs.

The survey indicated that 8% of Americans blog, skewing more heavily to women.

While MediaPost seems optimistic for the future of blogging, eMarketer is dismayed at the present. Today eMarketer reports on a study that shows that only 5% of UK corporations use blogs on a regular basis. Conducted by Loudhouse Research, the survey indicated that only 10 of 200 corporations “often used blogs,” while 78% “never used blogs.” The only online media that were used less frequently were podcasts (4%) and Webinars (3%).

On the other end of the spectrum, 46% often used e-mail marketing, 37% used web analytics and 36% used “web optimization,” though who knows what that’s supposed to mean.

Before you start pontificating about the superior state of business blogging in the US, eMarketer also found that only 5.8% of Fortune 500 companies and a mere 1.5% of the Fortune 200 Best Small Companies blogged.

The studies were conducted in April 2006 (Fortune 500), June 2006 (Fortune 200) and January 2007 (UK). Naturally, things could certainly have changed quite a bit between now and then, but if your company still isn’t blogging, I do know where you can find some good business blog consulting.