Are Blogs More Important Than Facebook or Twitter?

posted on 31st May 2011

Are Blogs More Important Than Facebook or Twitter for Marketing? A new study from Shop.org, a division of the National Retail Federation in the USA would suggest they are. The survey was conducted amongst over 1700 adults in the USA during April 2011, and the results suggest blogs are better for engagement, referral traffic and product research. Not so long ago I compared the advantages and disadvantages of Blogs, Twitter and Facebook which might be worth a look at in this context.

Social Commerce Study

The survey has a number of takeaways including;

  • 42% of US online adults follow a retailer via Facebook, Twitter or blog
  • Average US adult follows 6 retailers; and does do primarily for special deals (58%)
  • Other top reasons were for new product news (49%) and to participate in promotional contest and events (39%)
  • 47% of consumers access customer reviews in-store via mobile handsets
  • 34% of Facebook users access Facebook from mobile devices at least once a day
  • 32% view YouTube videos on a daily basis from a handset
  • 19% of US online adults have purchased from group-buy sites such as Groupon
  • 57% of which having spent over $100
  • 35% of consumers would buy products on Facebook, and 32% would do so from Twitter if possible

Researching While Shopping

I think there’s two key points from the survey, besides how important a blog is for engaging with consumers, the other is the important role played by the mobile phone when shopping. In the survey nearly half of respondents admitted to conducting some form research into an item while in store. In this case customers accessed reviews. It’s an incredibly high number, and goes to underline the importance of having a well optimised mobile ready website, with easy to navigate social content that can aid in the purchase decision.

Are Blogs More Important?

In the study the blog ranked higher in almost all categories. Consumers are more likely to make a purchase via a blog, to leave comments about goods and services on a blog, to research goods and services on a blog, and to click through to a website from a blog.

This isn’t really surprising when you think about it. If you’re making a purchase decision, chances are you will start with a search engine which is less likely to lead you to a blog posting rather than Facebook update or Tweet. Content posted to both social networks loses value very quickly, within an hour on Twitter and within 8 to 12 hours on Facebook.

What this means is that blog content, reviews, previews, news and insights will always feature more highly in search. Social search will merely provide social reinforcement of that blog content – ie. a Facebook friend has ‘liked’ or ‘tweeted’ a review. Blog’s may catch people further into the decision making process than a Twitter or Facebook user, while also providing more content to make an informed choice. After all how likely are you to make a purchase based on the content of a 140 character tweet?

The most surprising stats point to people being more likely to leave comments on a blog rather than on a Facebook or Twitter post. Do blog reviews, for example, elicit more of a response than a tweet or Facebook comment? I wouldn’t have thought so, especially comments related to customer services as people are more than happy to vent their issues almost anywhere as long as they get heard.

It’s certainly something to think about, and this will be more relevant to certain brands than others. Especially where consumers do research prior to purchase. If you are still undecided about what is best for your brand checkout this post on the advantages and disadvantages between all three platforms.