Ignore blogs at your peril

A MORI survey for Hotwire warns against a blind corporate blogging frenzy in response to growing power of blogs. Blogs are becoming a most influential source of information across Europe, according to the MORI research, with more than 25 million adults in Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain having changed their minds about a company or its products after reading comments or reviews on a blog.

The direct link between user-generated content and people's intentions to purchase a product or service is highlighted by the new research(1) which found that a third (34%) of Europeans say they have not purchased a product after reading comments on the internet from customers or other private individuals.

Other key findings from the research include:

Blogs are now a near second to newspapers as the most trusted information source: A quarter (24%) of Europeans consider blogs a trusted source of information, still behind newspaper articles (30%), but ahead of television advertising (17%) and email marketing (14%).

High spenders are most trusting of blogs: Of those who spend more than 145€ (£100) online every month, the proportion of people who trust blogs rises to 30%.

France leads European blogging; Britain lags: Across Europe, six out of ten (61%) internet users have heard of blogging, and one in six (17%), have read a blog. France is the most blog-savvy country in Europe, with 90% of respondents familiar with blogs. The British are the least blog-aware, with only 50% having heard the term. In Germany, 55% have heard of blogs, 58% in Italy and 51% in Spain.

Blogs are now driving purchase decisions: More than half (52%) of Europeans polled said that they were more likely to purchase a product if they had read positive comments from private individuals on the internet.

They also block purchases: Nearly 40 million Europeans have not bought something after reading comments posted online.

Gareth Deere, head of technology research, MORI said, "We all trust people's opinions in the real world. Now we've proven the same link online, and it's having a major impact on people's buying behaviour. Word of mouth is no longer restricted to close friends and family, it can have the same level of influence upon millions of people across the world."

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