Research: Bloggers, reviews pushing needle in gadget buys

Consumers say product reviews and blog mentions are the top factors in ultimately influencing what electronics purchases they make.

As far as the most overall influential factor, a positive product review pushes the needle the most as shown in the upcoming 2013 Digital Influence Report from Technorati Media (complete report due out Feb. 4). In fact, the survey concludes that the reviews were more influential than a recommendation from a friend.

“This gets us a look inside the heads of the consumers and shows what they’re looking for when planning a purchase,” Technorati Media CEO Shani Higgins said. “They want to learn from someone else’s experience. If your product is good and bloggers write positive reviews, it’s almost like having an army of sales associates working around the clock for you.”

Of the more than 1,200 consumers who took part in this survey, 28 percent of them said a positive review was the top factor in making electronics purchases. A friend’s recommendation came in at No. 2 on the list with 17 percent response rate.

The survey findings also indicate that many of those consumers are turning to blogs when looking to make a purchase. Blogs were found to be third-most influential (31%) when making overall purchases, only behind retail sites (56%) and brand sites (34%). Blogs held that No. 3 spot when consumers were asked specifically about electronics purchases.

In fact, blogs were found to be the fifth-most trustworthy source for overall information on the internet.

“Consumers are looking for recommendations from their trusted go-to sources and blogs continue to be a driving force in influencing purchasing decisions especially when it comes to electronics and gadgets,” Higgins said. “The smartest marketing strategy includes advertising and working with influencers so the moment a consumer’s engaged with a review or editorial feature they have an opportunity to take the next step and make a purchase.”

So just what are the influencers going to be writing about in 2013? Technorati Media asked for technology influencers to weigh in on the gadget climate of the new year.

More than 6,000 influencers were surveyed of which nine percent said they focus primarily on tech and gadgets. Thirty-eight percent of these tech and gadget influencers said tablets would rule the market in the coming year – the top choice by far. And the tablet they most prefer to recommend? The Apple iPad 4 (36%) came in with more than twice as many votes as the Google Nexus 7 (17%).

The smartphone battle is much closer, with Android-powered phones (42%) edging out the Apple iPhone (40%).

Right behind blogs in influencing electronics purchases were YouTube videos, indicating that consumers also might want to see a product in action before making a purchase.

Since 2004, Technorati Media’s annual report has followed growth and trends in the business of digital influence. This year, more than 7,500 overall users participated. Of those, more than 1,200 took park in the consumer survey; more than 6,500 took part in the influencer survey; and representatives from 150 brands participated.

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