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State of the Blogosphere

Feature: State of the Blogosphere 2009

Source: Technoarati (Day 4 of the Bloggers Convention)

More bloggers than ever are making money from blogs, however they are not the majority. Most bloggers who are making money from their blogs are generally doing so as entrepreneurs by hosting advertising on their own sites and by using their blogs to drive speaking engagements and traditional media assignments. Some bloggers are even reporting profits that place them squarely in the middle class, so the rise of the professional blogger is clearly underway, but still evolving.

72% of respondents are classified as Hobbyists, meaning that they report no income related to blogging.

Of those who have monetized their blogging to at least some extent:

• 54% are Part-Timers
• 32% are Self-Employeds
• 14% are Corporates

Because Corporates report working for an organization or company, while Part-Timers and Self-Employeds run their own organizations and companies, we asked the two subgroups different questions about how they monetize their blogs.

Part-Timers and Self-Employeds say that the main ways they generate revenue are through display and search ads, as well as through affiliate marketing links. 15% say they are paid to give speeches on the topics they blog about.

Among Pro and Self-Employed bloggers, 17% of the total respondents derive their primary income from blogging.

We asked Part-Timers and Self-Employeds who generate revenue through advertising (approximately 40% of such bloggers) to estimate their annual revenues from advertising.

51% of Corporates – 58 respondents – report receiving a salary for blogging. This result is highly directional, but given the small size of the overall cohort of Corporates, worth noting. Too few bloggers to report say that they are paid by the post.

Of course, advertising, salaries, and per-post fees are just part of the complex way in which bloggers are remunerated. Much blog-related revenue is realized in the form of speaking fees and payments for contributing to print media or participating in broadcasts. To account for this, we asked respondents to indicate whether they gained revenue from any streams not included in our questions – which many did.

Across audiences who make money from blogging, the main positive revenues (not including salaries) are as follows:

Of course, revenues aren’t all positive. Bloggers – including Hobbyists – also report significant annual investments in their blogs. As employees of companies, Corporates were not asked about their personal expenditures on the assumption that blog construction, hosting and maintenance would fall to their employers. Evaluating positive and negative cashflows, we see that the mean profits for blogs with reported revenues is $57,369.20.

Remembering that a substantial majority of the blogosphere is essentially hobbyist in nature is an important part of understanding why many blogs are not ad-supported.

The hobbyist ethos is even evident among many Part-Timers and Self-Employeds who generate revenue from advertising – 89% of whom believe that it is important that the advertising placed on their blogs align with their values.

The divide observed earlier featuring Corporates on one side and Part Timers and Self-Employeds on another, is particularly visible in each subgroup’s approach to managing advertising on their blogs. Part-Timers and Self-Employeds rely on self-serve tools to offer contextual ads or pay per click ads on their blogs, while Corporates mainly rely on dedicated ad sales teams.

Self-Employed bloggers are the most likely to sell their inventory through a blog-focused ad network, as well as to use afilate links. Self serve ad platforms are most popular with Part-Timers and Self-Employed bloggers – with more than 2 out of 3 bloggers using them. Overall, the number of bloggers using ad networks or blog ad networks to sell their advertising inventory has increased since 2008.

According to Lijit, comparing 2008 to 2009 there has been a 68% increase in the number blogs with ad tags installed. This indicates to that monetizing blogs is high on the priority list of most publishers. Last year Lijit found that Google Ad tags made up 67% of the tags found. This year that percentage has dropped to 47%, indicating publishers are experimenting with other ad networks.

Finally, when it comes to specific ad types, Rich Media ads have achieved levels of moderate penetration, while Interstitial and Pop-up ads are relatively uncommon in the blogosphere.

Brands in the Blogosphere

When it comes to brands, 70% of bloggers are talking about them. 46% of respondents post about the brands they love (or hate), while and 38% post brand or product reviews. Part-Timers, and Self-Employed bloggers are talking about brands at a much higher rate (80%), with one in three posting reviews at least once a week.

Company Blogging

Excluding hobbyists – who are not monetizing their blogging, and many of whom don’t wish to do so – 14% of respondents maintain a blog for a company.

71% of all respondents who maintain blogs for a business – their own or one they work for – report that they have increased their visibility within their industries through their blogs. 56% say that their blog has helped their company establish a positioning as a thought leader within the industry.

In addition to its positive business impacts, bloggers have experienced positive career impacts. 58% say that they are better-known in their industry because of their blog, and 15% say that they have more executive visibility within their company as a result of blogging.



October 27, 2009 Posted by | Blogging | , | Leave a comment