For the third year in a row, Vuelio has conducted a survey to track the ever-changing social media and blogging world. The survey sought to explore “how bloggers work, their activities and views about their relationship with PR professionals and the future commercialization of their work.” Vuelio specilises in influencers, public relations, and communications software. With an extensive network of bloggers in their database, their data comes from 787 participants who run either personal or professional blogs.
Overall, there are five “supersectors” that make up the majority of accessible blogs: Fashion & Beauty, Lifestyle, Parenting, Food & Drink, and Travel; about 67% of all blogs comprise of these categories. A major find from this new survey is the decline of Fashion & Beauty blogs.
In 2016, Fashion & Beauty tied for top-supersector with 22% of blogs falling under this label. Yet the new survey shows a drastic drop in Fashion & Beauty blogs falling to 8%. This may come as a surprise for some due to the seemingly dominating presence of Fashion & Beauty influencers in the social media world. However, different age groups have started to express more interest in other supersectors. For example, there was a rise in popularity in Food & Drink blogs for the 55+ age range, while Parenting is the most popular for those 35-54 years old.
The rise in blogging as a profession bringing in a source of income has increased for men and women between 25-54 years old, with 77% of bloggers between 35-44 running professional blogs. Overall, there has been a 17% increase of professional from personal blogs. However, the younger generation falling between 18-24 years old as well as those above the age of 65 blog for more personal reasons at about a 60% rate. The survey, therefore, picked up on a dichotomy between professional and personal bloggings habits.
For example, many professional bloggers are more likely to post five or more times per week, whereas personal bloggers (and some professionals) go for one post a week (although about 44% of all participants have started to post once a week). Furthermore, personal bloggers are likely to have a smaller reach compared to 73% of professionals, who are classified as “large” blogs with a reach of 10,000+ unique visitors.
Because they tend to post more frequently, professional bloggers are building their following by spending more time working on their platforms. The study finds that those who spend less time blogging (about 5-10 hours/week) have less visitors than the 90% of professionals who spend 30+ hours working per week. Although it makes sense professional bloggers would spend more time on their sites as it is their sources of income. Overall, the study suggests that putting in more time for your content makes you 74% more likely to attract higher numbers of unique visitors.
In terms of gender differences, men and women are equally likely to blog for both professional and personal reasons, although women “are particularly dominant in developing their work professionally.” Men and women both “pursue Travel equally” while focusing on other topics that, on average, differ (men under gaming, music, politics while women are craft and creative).
Bloggers use Twitter (91%), Facebook (86%), and Instagram (79%) as the top three social media platforms to promote their blogs and posts. Google+ saw a huge decline from 54% in 2017 to 27% in 2018, which is easily explained due to the platform shutting down with no consumer access after 2 April.
With the rising dominance of social media and professional blogging comes the rise of relationships with PRs. The study finds that “traditional PR pitches” (i.e. press releases) have become “ineffective” since there no “published content” comes from them—there is not enough for bloggers to use for content via a press release. Overall, the survey concludes that the relationship between PRs and bloggers is good, but bloggers feel as they lack the same standing or status as traditional journalists. This may change as social media’s dominance increases.
The drastic shifts in statistics and increase of professional bloggers demonstrates the rapid growth of social media in the professional working world. It will be interesting to see what supersectors rise or fall and how bloggers adapt their content to ever-changing trends and the world of business.