Blogs, arguably, were the first social media tool to smack headfirst into the traditional news media world. They proved to be the first time anybody, almost anywhere, could put their view out into the public sphere – with no editor looming over their shoulder and ostensibly no publisher bias. When we first looked at blogs and how they were being used in 2009, we found they tended to be heavy in text, but were also rather gender neutral in terms of who was using them. A lot has changed. Here’s our update on the cyberland of blogs…
Women write more than men. Except when we looked at age groups. In the 55+ demographic, men tend to write 14% more than women. In younger demographics, women will share more links on a blog post (on average) than men and men prefer to integrate videos into their blog posts whereas women will use static images more often. So why is this relevant? If you’re a marketer, then this kind of insight can help you determine the types of content you might develop for gender audiences and age groups.
People Continue to Write Less
In 2009, we found the average blog post was 800 words with 4 outbound links. In 2011 that had dropped to an average of 300 words but link sharing averages had climbed to 7 per post. Now in 2012 the average blog post number of words has dropped to 200 with outbound links increasing to an average of 9 per post.
Images & Video
We also noted much higher instances of embedding video and images into blog posts. In fact over 90% of blogs analysed always included an image and 54% of blog posts on average, included an embedded video. We do note the rise of Vimeo as a choice for which video channel is used. YouTube remains higher, but Vimeo has increased by 25% over 2011.
Age Factor in Content
We also found that the under 25 category only write an average of 100 words and will include multiple videos and images in a single post. The most popular blogging platform for the under 25 segment remains Tumblr. In 74% of the cases of blogs with the under 25 group, text was only used to provide context, either through an opinion or how the image/video being shared relates to their world.
That blogging is still alive and well, but is where a position is stated for longer debate. Links are shared to provide evidence of statements being made (we did not check on validity of referenced sources.) There will remain a large audience for blogs for sometime and we suspect they will survive much in the way forums continue to thrive. Platforms like Tumblr will become longer-term value platforms for the under 25 moving forward. We suspect there will be generational shifts as age groups tend to stick with what has become familiar to them and where they have established audiences. Our opinion is that if a platform/channel rises in popularity to gain a usage base of 2 million or more people over 3 years that it will “move” with a certain group into having a longer lifespan than less trendy platforms or channels unless a more easily adoptable option comes along (i.e. Facebook overtaking MySpace.)
New Platforms to Watch
A couple of new services have opened up in the past year that we think will impact blogging habbits and warrant monitoring, which we will do. These two are 1) Storify and 2) Cowbird with one we are undecided on which is Makr.io, we shall see.
We analysed the same 1,500 blogs we did in 2009, replacing those blogs that have been discontinued since 2010 with a blog where we could determine a similar age and gender along with topic. We did not place emphasis on the type of content (e.g. political, technology etc.) but we did provide for per capita of online audience in looking at blogs in Canada, USA and UK. We used our proprietary search engine, our AI Engine and third party tools such as Alexa and WooRank to validate the findings. If you have specific questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. Our technology is confidential as are many of our methodologies for analysis…because that is how we continue as a business so we hope you understand.
Authors: G. Crouch and T. Williams