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Study Shows Blog Impact on Brands

Dawn Anfuso
Study Shows Blog Impact on Brands Dawn Anfuso

France is one of the leading blogging countries outside the United States and its blogosphere is growing fast. To gain an understanding of this market, customer-listening company crmmetrix conducted an exclusive study -- BaroBlogs: "the Barometer of the Blogosphere" -- from June 26 to June 28, 2006, with a sample of 795 respondents from crmmetrix's online panel representative of French internet users. The study provides insights into how blogs impact brands and business overall. (The next edition of the "Barometer Blogosphere" is planned for September 2006, when U.S. data will be available as well.)

Blogs bring people together
The study found that more than one-quarter (26.7 percent) of the French online population -- counted in April '06 as 26.52 million by Médiamétrie – L’observatoire des usages Internet -- visit a blog at least once a month. One in five (18.8 percent) have posted a comment on a blog and 8.1 percent have created their own blogs.

French internet users who consult blogs regularly do so to get information (74.4 percent), to share experiences (57 percent) and to look for advice (56.7 percent), and the phenomenon crosses age groups: 70.3 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds and 40.5 percent of 35-year-olds have visited a blog to get information.

Thanks to blogs, internet users can become co-creators of the web and, subsequently, of the world: People who are online agree that blogs enable the greatest freedom of expression (92.2 percent), are both reactive and interactive (81.3 percent), create close relationships between people (75.7 percent) and are considered more critical than any other source of information (62.9 percent).

"Thanks to blogs, the internet has become a primary source of information for French internet users," say Laurent Florès, CEO of crmmetrix. "Now considered more critical and more interactive than other forms of interconnectivity, blogs bring people closer. This marks a significant move from 'interruption marketing' to 'conversation marketing', where listening and conversing become critical for brands and organizations as a source of listening to and learning from what people are saying about them."

Blog subjects
The top four subjects for French internet users are news blogs (54.2 percent), music blogs (46.2 percent), leisure blogs (43.8 percent) and cinema blogs (41.6 percent). The whole list is shown below.


 Source: crmmetrix, "BaroBlogs: the Barometer of Blogosphere" June 2006

"It is interesting to note that brands are right there too,' say Guillaume Weill, managing director of crmmetrix Europe. "Nearly one quarter (22 percent) of respondents say they consult blogs to get brand information. Clearly, brands need to be listening, to be in line with ever-changing brand perception and image. And as the blogosphere in France grows, this will become even more important for brand managers to track."

BaroBlogs also shows that men and women are gravitating to different subjects. Sport blogs? Men (44.6 percent), women (17 percent). Medical blogs? Women (32.8 percent) and men (11.7 percent). Differences are also seen for age groups. Music is especially interesting for the 16- to 24-years-old (61.4 percent) and less for the 50+ years-old (27.4 percent).

"The diversity of interests confirms the richness of blogs as an information tool. It's a safe bet to say that the next French presidential election in 2007 will involve the internet and blogs to an unprecedented level," says Florès. "Indeed, news subjects already interest more than 50 percent of blog readers, and this independent of their age or gender. Blogs with political content are for the moment more consulted by older men, but more than 80 percent of general blog readers judge the information credible."

The most consulted blogs
Blogs truly represent Web 2.0 -- personal information is produced by and exchanged constantly -- and personal blogs are by far the most consulted (90 percent), followed by group and association blogs (46.3 percent) and media blogs (38.2 percent).

Source: crmmetrix, "BaroBlogs: the Barometer of Blogosphere" June 2006



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