The phenomenon of blogs is growing rapidly and is expected to increase even in a more rapid pace. As Wright discuss; blogs provides a new way of communicating with customers, as customers want to be talked with.
Companies have newly started to pay attention to this and as a result, the concept of blog marketing has been born. The little research that has been done on blog marketing has been done from a company perspective.
However, no or little research has yet considered how consumers use blogs. In order to use blogs as a communication tool, it is of huge importance for companies to understand how consumers use blogs in their decision making. Hence the purpose is;
“To explore how and why consumers use blogs in their decision making process“
In order to answer this purpose we conducted nine interviews on young adults, as previous research suggests that this population use blogs the most (Tremayne, 2007). From the collected data a qualitative analyze was made in which the empirical findings was analyzed with support of the theoretical framework.
From the analysis we found that consumers use blogs throughout their decision making. Within the consumers’ decision making, collaborative blogs was mostly used as the consumers could get more input from a larger audience and because this type of blog tended to cover a specific topic of interest for the consumers. Consumers were found mainly writing in the blogs when they had knowledge to contribute with or when they needed information that they could not otherwise find in the blogs.
We also noticed that consumers turned to groups they belonged to, so called normative group, or they turned to groups that they did not belong to, so called comparative groups. These groups influenced the consumer by providing them with knowledge and by giving them positive and negative confirmation on their choice of purchase. However normative groups also persuaded the consumer to buy products in order to belong to the group.
Besides this, a pattern of characteristics of the individuals that the consumer blogged with were noticed. Consumers wanted user experiences and thus the vast majority of these individuals they turned to, seemed to be consumers themselves, with relevant product experiences. The consumers also seem to blog more with certain individuals, whose opinions were valued more. These individuals often shared the latest information on products.
Lastly we found that consumers seemed to be selective when reading blog posts. The blog posts needed to contain detailed- and up-to-date information. Moreover, consumers wanted blog post to be written by other consumers because they saw them as more credible then companies. The consumers also chose to read blog posts that show similarities be-tween the consumer and the blogger in terms of either usage pattern of product or preference for product choices.
Source: Jönköping University
Author: Johannes Andersson | Martin Blomkvist | Mattias Holmberg