Thought it was worth reprinting this feature from fab industry publication, written by Katie Bird on 13-Jan-2011. It’s like, hello, the penny finally dropped. Of course, somebody needed to do ‘a survey’ to confirm what bloggers have known for an age, but it’s great news to have it confirmed from an official source that we are just as relevant, if not more so, when it comes to people making choices about how they buy their beauty products. Although the survey was taken among Beauty Bloggers, my argument would be that we interact far more with readers in a very personal way and are able to assess just how they are spending on beauty. While it might have been better to take a wider survey, the very fact that someone has said it out loud is a step in the right direction.

Blogs are more than twice as likely to inspire cosmetic and beauty purchases than magazines, according to a recent survey.

The findings are from a study of women’s shopping behavior and the influence of the media on purchases, jointly led by PR firm DeVries and online information network BlogHer.

According to the survey, which questioned 1,074 BlogHer users, blogs have a significant impact on the purchasing behavior of women.

In answering the question ‘Over the last 6 months, which resource was more likely to cause you to make a beauty product purchase?’ 63 percent of the respondents chose bloggers, with 26 percent choosing magazine writers and editors.

In addition, survey findings suggested that women trust general blogs that cover many lifestyle related topics for beauty advice, and do not limit themselves to uniquely cosmetic or beauty focused sites.

According to President of DeVries Public Relations Stephanie Smirnov, the survey supports the agency in the belief in the importance of involving bloggers in PR.
“We’ve long believed at DeVries that trusted blogs have as much influence on purchase decisions as traditional media outlets, both inside the beauty category and out,” she said.

However, Smirnov noted that involving bloggers was not without its challenges.

“One of the biggest challenges in working with bloggers is making the time to get to know them and their site intimately. Pitching bloggers requires an even greater level of personalization and relationship-building than in a traditional media relationship. The payoff for investing this time is great, however” she told USA.

Future trends
While the survey group was taken from BlogHer’s users, suggesting an acceptance of blogs at higher levels than the wider population, Smirnov said wider conclusions can be drawn. “Previous BlogHer research has proven the BlogHer community are a good indicator of where the mainstream population is trending, as it relates to social media usage and digital behavior,” she said. Adding that: “We think this research is a great snapshot of how highly engaged online women are behaving right now, but also a forecast of where their mainstream sisters are likely to go in the next year or so.”

NB: I got this comment through a couple of hours after publishing this:

Hi, Stephanie Smirnov here, the PR person quoted in Katie Bird’s article and president of DeVries Public Relations, the NY-based PR firm that worked with BlogHer on the study. Just wanted to make sure it’s clear that we conducted the survey on a much broader group of respondents than just beauty bloggers. The 1000+ women who responded to the survey are a mix of those who publish their own blog, or simply read blogs. And the category of blogs included in the BlogHer network covers a vast variety of topics, well beyond beauty.

Thanks for this post — those of us in the agency world often feel frustrated when our marketing clients don’t listen to our recommendations unless there’s data to back it up. Although we’ve known intuitively for several years how influential bloggers are, research (the kind that influences marketers) had not yet been done to validate our instincts. Till now, that is!

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