McCann on the growing importance of social media

Universal McCann just released their Wave 3 report on the increased importance of social media to online users:

  • 73% of internet users have read a blog (21% read a blog daily)
  • 27% of blog readers read blogs about products and brands
  • 26% of US users have begun a blog
  • 36% of users think better of a company that has a blog
  • 32% trust bloggers’ opinions on products and services
  • For the 184 million bloggers worldwide, the #1 blog topic is personal and family life
  • 57% of users have joined a social network
  • 55% of users have uploaded a photo

And then there’s the great insight that users are turning their social networking pages into ways to organize their online experiences.

However, the McCann survey also finds some insights I don’t agree with. One, they argue that blogs are “an accurate barometer of consumer opinion” which I think overreaches. Their own numbers show that only a quarter of users write blogs, and less than a third of users trust their opinions.

Additionally I think they overgeneralize when saying that bloggers appreciate advertisements for the credibility they lend to their site. This seems like wishful thinking, and overlooks the conflicts inherent in what is usually an almost completely uncontrolled ad platform–how many political blogs have been forced to apologize for automatically generated ads for products, services, or candidates they don’t support?

Read the whole Universal McCann Wave 3 PDF.


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