Survey Shows the Blogosphere is Breaking Out

The long tail is growing appendages. A new survey released today of over 56,000 readers of blogs shows different segments of blog readers have distinct characteristics. Conducted by the Blogads network, the study breaks out blog audiences into four categories: readers of political, gossip, mom and music blogs.

“There are multiple blogospheres,” suggested Blogads CEO Henry Copeland. “These people actually run in packs and the packs have very distinct characteristics.”

Political blog browsers may be the most engaged in the blogosphere. The largest portion of the bunch read five blogs each day, and over 18 percent spend 10 hours each week reading blogs. In the last six months, 70 percent contributed to a cause or campaign online, 41 percent spending $100 or more. In that time, 60 percent bought software and clothes on the Web. Eighty-seven percent of these big blog consumers purchased books online, and 52 percent spent $100 or more. Fifty-five percent spent on publication subscriptions in that time.

Over 72 percent of these readers are male and the largest age group, nearly 27 percent, is between 41 and 50 years old. In addition, more than 77 percent have a college degree, while over 20 percent have a family income between $60K and $90K. Fifty percent are Democrats, 20 percent Republicans and nearly 20 percent independents.

Though younger, music blog readers are also more than 72 percent male. More than 44 percent are ages 31-40; more than 25 percent are students and over 58 percent have college degrees. Not surprisingly, a large majority, 86 percent, bought music online in that time, and 47 percent spent over $100. Seventy percent bought books online and 63 percent bought clothes. The largest portion, 18 percent, read one blog per day, and almost 16 percent spend about an hour each week on the blogs.

“I think most advertisers look at blog advertising as more inventory,” observed Ian Schafer, CEO of agency Deep Focus, who believes many buy blog media simply to boost their impression count, rather than thinking of how they can target segmented communities. The agency has run several blog campaigns for music and film advertisers, including a recent effort promoting Picturehouse Studio’s “The Notorious Bettie Page” on liberal, gossip and even faith-based blogs.

While Copeland said some political and entertainment advertisers grasp the idea of targeting specific types of blogs based on the unique audiences they reach, many advertisers “don’t get the degree to which these are self-contained universes…This is not a basket of eyeballs; these are very interwoven communities.”

Then there are the female blog readers. Seventy-seven percent of gossip blog readers are women, and over 49 percent are ages 22-30. More than 60 percent have a college degree and over 22 percent are students. Compared to the also young music blog audience, fewer, 63 percent, bought music online. More gossip blog readers, 68 percent, purchased clothing on the Web than both music and political blog readers, and over 48 percent spent more than $100. Fifteen percent of gossip blog fans read three blogs daily, and nearly 15 percent spend two hours each week.

The mom blog crowd, a 90 percent female bunch reading motherhood and parenting-related blogs, is a bit more blog-crazed than their gossip blog sisters. Over 12 percent read five blogs daily and more than 17 percent spend two hours a week reading blogs. They also buy lots of clothes online: 72 percent did in the last six months, and 46 percent spent over $100. A large majority, 83 percent, purchased books on the Web; 36 percent spent over $100. Forty-six percent contributed to a cause or campaign, and 23 percent bought toys. More than 45 percent of mom blog readers are 22-30 in age, more than 73 percent have a college degree, and over 21 percent have a family income of between $60K and $90K.

Readers visit blogs for differing reasons, too. While the majority of mom, gossip and music readers visit blogs for their humorous qualities, most political blog readers like blogs because they provide news they can’t find elsewhere.

On one point many seem to agree: podcasts. Though often perceived as early-adopters of new media forms, most blog readers don’t listen to them. In fact, 62 percent of music blog readers, 75 percent of political blog readers, 77 percent of mom blog readers and 80 percent of gossip blog readers said they never listen to podcasts.

Editor’s Note: In the original version of this story, the number of blog readers who participated in the survey was reported as 36,000. The actual number is 56,000.

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