ComScore survey points to blog reader affluence, youth

NEW YORK: A recent survey shows that blog readers are more affluent, spend more time surfing the internet, and buy more products online than the average Internet user.

NEW YORK: A recent survey shows that blog readers are more affluent, spend more time surfing the internet, and buy more products online than the average Internet user.

The comScore survey, Behaviors of the Blogosphere, sponsored by blog media empire Gawker Media and online community software maker Six Apart, also showed marketers that blog readers increased 47% from 2004 to 2005.

Nearly 50 million US internet users ? 30% of internet users and nearly 17% of the US population ? visited one of the 400 top blog domains tracked by comScore in the first quarter of 2005. This is an increase from 34 million blog visitors in the first quarter of 2004.

"One can't overlook the sheer scale of the audience," said Dan Hess, comScore SVP. "PR professionals, marketers, and the interested world-at-large can't overlook this phenomenon. At a minimum, they need to carefully monitor any presence of their brands in the discussion of the blogosphere."

The survey found that blog visitors were 11% more likely than the average internet user to have a household income of more than $75,000 and 30% more likely to live in a home where the head of household was between 18-34.

The research also showed that blog readers viewed 16,000 pages during the first quarter of 2005, 77% more than the 9,000 pages viewed by the average internet user. Blog readers also spend 23 hours online per week, while average internet users spend 10 hours online per week.

"This is great news for us in marketing and public relations," Adam Brown, director of eKetchum said. "The people who are reading blogs are in the general consumer demographic that we're trying to reach."

However, Brown said the report was also a double-edged sword because political blogs, a taboo topic to many marketers, were found to receive the highest traffic.

"The most widely read blogs are the ones clients are likely to avoid because they don't want to be associated with that [fight]," Brown said. "It demonstrates that the top niche of blogs are often off-limits."

ComScore's permission-based research panel measured the online activity of more than 1.5 million US and 500,000 global participants to determine the average internet user and blog reader statistics.

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