In this article, we focus on influencer marketing on social media platforms, blogs and vlogs through an online survey conducted on the questia.ro platform. The research study was active between July 31st and August 2nd 2018 and covered 937 respondents, with a +/- 4% margin of error when reported to the Romanian online population.

Overview

We live in the era of free discourse, either spoken or written. Nowadays, when you want to express your opinion, you can simply choose to write your thoughts on social media, on your blog or just record a vlog about it. There are numerous ways in which you can express your opinion that could be your next-ticket to becoming an influencer overnight.

I approached the subject of influencers in a previous article related to a social experiment: Would You Switch to an Influencer with Opposite Beliefs Than Yours?

Influencers are the opinion makers and millions of people (especially teens) from all over the world are tracking their posts and waiting for their updates. They are the new stars of the online who speak openly about what they think and how they feel, usually by generating good vibes, having a positive attitude and saying things in a different way, as few have the courage to do so. These are the bloggers and the vloggers.

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Let’s talk a little about blogging. It initially involved a personal web page in which people would write diaries, journals about their day or life. It was first known as “web log” but it evolved into the term of “blog”. Many might wander what is the difference between a blog and a website, especially since many businesses use both a website and a blog and they integrate those into a single web presence. Well, the two basic characteristics of a blog are that they are updated frequently and allow reader engagement. Blogs also allow for blog marketing, which is the process through which businesses target their prospect clients through the use of blog articles.

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Now, moving on to the definition of vlogging: it is a blog that contains video content. However, lately, most vloggers are using video platforms on which they create channels where they upload their vlogs, instead of having a classic blog where to upload some video content.

The first vlog appeared in America in the 2000s and it was an alternative to the blog, meaning the text was replaced with an image. Five years later, vlogging turned into a huge industry, especially overseas. The main target audience consists of adolescents and young people. Even though you might see only one person speaking from behind the screen, some vloggers from abroad have large teams who work for them, so it’s a rather collective effort. Moreover, many vloggers try and promote general knowledge and culture by being some sort of teachers for their audiences and trying to explain everything in a simpler, funnier and more attractive manner. In Romania, the phenomenon appeared later, in the 2011s.

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Engage Live puts it very beautifully by saying that “a video blog or video logging is the future of free speech, advertising, and a true democratic society.” They also report that videos offer the best form of interaction with the audience as human brains process videos 60.000 times faster than text. Also, the average viewer will watch approximately 206 videos per month.

The 2018 Marketing Statistics reports that:

  1. Blogging:
  • 53% of marketers say that blog creation is their top marketing priority
  • titles with 6-13 words attract the highest amount of traffic
  • 90% of blog leads come from old posts
  • 43% of people admit to skimming blog posts
  1. Vlogging:
  • visual content is 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than any other types of content
  • articles that contain an image every 100 words double their shares
  • colored visuals increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by 80%
  • 40% of businesses plan to add YouTube to their marketing channels in their next year, while 39% plan to add Facebook video

These blogging and vlogging platforms along with the social media platforms successfully created a new branch for marketers to promote their products and services, called Influencer Marketing. According to Influencer MarketingHub, "influencers, unlike celebrities, can be anywhere. They can be anyone. What makes them influential is their large followings on the web and social media. An influencer can be a popular fashion photographer on Instagram, or a well-read cybersecurity blogger who tweets, or a respected marketing executive on LinkedIn. Within any industry, there are influential people—you just have to find them. They are easily recognized by their hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of followers, and that’s the target audience you’re after.”

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Last year, brands spent over 1 billion dollars on influencer marketing only on Instagram. This approach allows businesses to engage with prospective customers in a more authentic and non-invasive way as it helps brands tell their stories and create a warmer, “more human” connection with social media users that will last. It also increases the people’s trust of the brand and thus, encourages them to organically recommend their products and services.

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As for predictions for Influencer Marketing trends, it is expected that the campaigns will be shared across more platforms and a wider range of influencers, brands will try to establish long-term relationships with their favorite influencers, the accent will be put on a genuine and more authentic connection that uses original pictures and videos and the Instagram stories will continue to be in trend.

Results

Over 71% of the respondents said they regularly read blog articles. Out of those who read online articles, over three-quarters (78.1%) do this with regularity, with 35.5% reading daily or almost daily while 42.6% reading a few times a week.

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The most read content is related to health (60.8%), followed by entertainment (53.6%), culinary/cooking blogs (50%), travel blogs and blogs related to general content: news and trends (49.5%).

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Most respondents (94.3%) read Romanian blogs, while only 5.7% prefer reading blog articles in English.

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When it comes to vlogging, however, most respondents (62.1%) do not watch vlogs.

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Out of those who watch vlog videos, the frequency is much lower compared to those who read blogs, with only 64.7% of the respondents watching vlogs regularly (27.4% watching daily or almost daily while 37.3% are watching a few times a week).

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As expected, the content that drives the most attention on the vlogging platforms is related to entertainment (music, events, interviews etc.) with over 54% of respondents watching trivia vlogs.

Travel vlogs are also quite popular, with 47.6% of users watching these videos, while over 44% of respondents prefer watching vloggers who post personal vlogs (that means they are filming their activities on a daily basis or just recording their thoughts on various subjects). However, technical related content is also popular, with 44.6% of respondents watching tutorials and 42.4% reviews on movies, books, tv shows and many more.

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The vlogs respondents use to watch are most of the time Romanian (85.6%), while 14.4% of respondents watch most of the vlogs in English.

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We then wanted to know what kind of information is more reliable: the one who is written on a blog, the one who is presented in a vlog or something they read on Facebook. It seems that respondents trust the info they take from Facebook the least. Thus, they trust to a higher degree the news presented on blogs or vlogs. Over half of the respondents (51.5%) trust the most the information they read from blog articles the most while over a quarter (27.3%) trust the most the information they hear from a vlog.

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If they had to choose between reading a blog article and watching a vlog, most (59%) choose the blogs.

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Most respondents (82.6%) prefer following a vlogger/blogger that has charisma, mainly a sense of humor. We also wanted to find out if they’d rather follow a male vlogger/blogger, but it seems it’s not the case since 69.2% tend to disagree with this statement.

Respondents seem to understand the content better when they read it themselves instead of when watching a vlogger speaking about the same subject (with 65.4% agreeing to a great and very great extent) and they tend to spend more time while reading articles than while watching vlogs (with 56.5% agreeing to a great and very great extent). Even though they spend more time reading blogs, it seems that respondents enjoy this activity as almost three-quarters of respondents disagree with the fact that reading blog articles is more boring than watching vlogs.

Vlogs, however, are seen as a rather better opportunity for respondents to find information about new products and brands (with 66.7% of users agreeing to a great and very great extent) and a little over half of them (52.7%) believe that it’s much more relaxing to watch a vlog instead of reading a blog article. However, vlogs shouldn’t be too time consuming as 56.8% agree to a great and very great extent that they lose interest when the videos are too long.

Targeting people through blogs or vlogs is a great opportunity for brands to promote themselves among people since 54.9% of respondents disagree with the fact that they are bothered when bloggers/vloggers promote products on their channels.

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