eMarketer estimates that in 2010 more than half of US internet users will read blogs at least once amonth.This equates to nearly 113 million people.By 2014,60% of the US internet population,or justover 150 million users,will read blogs.
Acomparative estimate of 2008 and 2009 data on the blogaudience from researchers including Universal McCann,Accenture,BIGresearch and Lightspeed Research shows adisparity of findings.This is largely due to differences in surveysamples,internet access levels,frequency of use and othermethodological benchmarks.The differences are also a functionof varying perceptions of what constitutes a blog.In the absenceof a standarddefinition,survey participants have their own ideasabout whether the sites they visit are blogs.This makes it difficultto get a precise reading of the total size of the blogosphere.
For additional information on this chart,see the Endnotes section.
For example,Universal McCann’s figures were limited to usersages 16 to 54 who had daily internet access.This constraint madethe percentage higher than that of Lightspeed Research,whichused a wider age sample (16- to 64-year-olds) and did not specify afrequency of internet access.Universal’s figures were also higherthan others with even less selective age samples,such asAccenture and BIGresearch,which polled adult users.There is an additional factor behind the differing findings.Becausemany of the most widely read blogs are seamless from mainstreammedia,survey participants respond differently depending on theirown perceptions,as well as the wording of the surveys.Surveys thatask generally whether people read blogs are likely to elicit higherresponse rates than those that pinpoint certain types of blogs,suchas asking if the participant has read “someone else’s blog.”In addition,a reader who stumbles across a New York Times blogwhile perusing the newspaper’s website might not be aware of having read a blog.Similarly,someone who follows political newson the Huffington Post or celebrity news on TMZ.com might notthink of those sites as blogs.The disparate survey results reflectthese ambiguities.Given the lack of standards in how blogs aredefined and perceived,it is not surprising that the percentageswereroughly between 45% and 65%.eMarketer’sestimates assume monthly visits to any type of blogwithin our broad definition.That includes media blogs,corporateblogs,dedicated news blogs,technology blogs and the thousandsof long-tail personal blogs.
For more on business blogging,see eMarketer’s upcomingreport “Corporate Blogging:Media and Marketing FirmsDrive Growth,”due to publish in October 2010.
Trends in blog reading areexpected to maintain an upwardcourseas blogs continue to gain influence in the mainstream media.Butthereis a caveat to eMarketer’sforecast:Over time,blogs willcontinue to become indistinguishable from other media channels.For example,The New York Times operates at least 50 public-facingblogs,which are indexed under such headings as “News and Politics,”“Business and Finance,”“Technology”and “Sports.”These blogs areintertwined with the paper’sregular coverage.Readers are routinelyredirected from the main site to the blogs and back again.There is anear total fluidity between the traditional coverage and the blog posts.As this morphing of blogs and media sites continues to unfold,it willcomplicate the task of forecasting blog reading as its own categoryof online activity.The most likely effect of this trend will be that surveyrespondents will focus on standalone blogs and not necessarilyconsider blogs that areinterspersed into broader media venues.Oneway around this conundrum will be for survey designers to askdetailed questions that take into account the different types of blogs.This is true for both blog-reading and blog-writing surveys.
illions and % of internet users
S Blog Readers, 2008-2014
ote: internet users who read blogs at least monthly ource: eMarketer,Aug 2010
% of internet users
Comparative Estimate: US Blog Readers, 2008-2010
Universal McCann*, July 2009Accenture**, Jan 2010
Retail Advertising & Marketing Association(RAMA)**, Sep 2009Lightspeed Research***, May 2009
Note: *ages 16-54 with daily or every other day internet access; **ages18+; ***ages 16-64; data is for Jan Source: eMarketer,Aug 2010