New Blog Research Shows Stark Differences in U.S., Europe

Brands with a global focus must recognize cultural differences

by Jason Falls |

As global brands migrate from social media marketing activation in the U.S. to foreign shores for audience engagement, social activation and even blogger outreach, it’s imperative to understand the cultural differences from country to country and continent to continent. Overblog, one of the top blogging platforms in Europe and now available in the U.S., recently conducted a survey of 5,000 U.S. and European bloggers that helps define some of those differences.

The survey, conducted in the month of May of this year in preparation for the initial results presentation at BlogWorld and New Media Expo on June 7, asked a variety of questions about blog monetization, brand involvement and influence. The results show a vast difference in American bloggers versus our European counterparts.

Image representing Overblog as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

The survey indicates, in my estimation, that American bloggers are more professionally oriented, serious bloggers. Once could interpret the U.S. blogosphere is more mature as a marketplace that the European one. Among the specific findings

  • 58 percent of U.S. bloggers have blogged for more than four years. Just 40 percent of European bloggers have.
  • 94 percent of Americans blog about brands or companies while only 52 percent of our counterparts do
  • Only 11 percent of European bloggers say they blog for their company while 43 percent of Americans do
  • 34 percent of U.S. bloggers earn something for their activity compared to just 25 percent in Europe
  • Half of European bloggers receive nothing, not even gifts-in-kind for their activities. Just 13 percent of American bloggers say the same

Perhaps the most shocking statistic from the findings for me what that just 32 percent of European bloggers say they use their actual identify when blogging. We’ll cover this more on Wednesday as I dive a bit deeper into the transparency issue.

But other differences and some similarities exist that are worth noting. European bloggers overwhelmingly blog for the passion of their blog topic. Some 51 percent say it’s all about the interest in the topic, compared to just 20 percent for U.S. bloggers. Very few bloggers on either side of the Atlantic say they blog primarily for the money.

And some 98 percent of U.S. bloggers are members of Twitter while just 49 percent of European bloggers are. Conversely, 45 percent of European bloggers have a dedicated Facebook page for their blog while only four percent of American bloggers do.

What all this tells us, in my brief analysis, is that the American blogging scene is far more mature than that in Europe, if you consider transparency, commercialization and traffic-minded promotion is “mature.” Europeans seem to lean toward more hobby and passion bloggers and much more of a pure-play “social” approach to blogging … sharing contact and connection on Facebook (people you know) versus Twitter (people you don’t know).

All of this is good, cursory information to know if you’re moving to a more international position for your brand. If you are, what I might recommend is the following:

  • Be even more selective and careful approaching bloggers for sponsorships, promotions and advertising
  • Facebook first, Twitter maybe not at all
  • Lifestyle programming (think mom bloggers, hobby bloggers) is going to go over easier than straight business content
  • Monitor various governing laws on disclosure and privacy

That’s what I see. What do you? Any of you European marketers or bloggers out there see the same things or is my lack of direct market exposure showing through? Please jump in the comments and help us all better understand.

The comments, as always, are yours.

NOTE: Overblog is a Social Media Explorer client. 

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About the Author

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for Elasticity, one of the world's most innovative digital marketing and public relations firms. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).