- Sunday, May 8, 2016

WAKE UP YOUR BLOG: Market Analysis

What do my readers want? Trying to guess what people want to read and see and buy is a crazy game, but wait! Hold up! There’s a guide in front of my face under the button called “Insights” and “Analytics.”

This is part of a series on putting together a Business Plan for Bloggers, so let’s get to know our readers, customers, and our target market!

The Market Analysis section of a business plan takes a look at your target demographics and tries to forecast and configure basic behaviors to better understand your customers and readers, more specifically, what they want and need.

The best places for numbers are your own insights and analytics from your blog and social media. These will tell you everything you want to know about YOUR readers in particular.

Sometimes, more information about the internet as a whole might come in handy for planning or obtaining funding. Here are some general statistics and information.

When researching the basics of “Who is reading blogs,” keep in mind that you want the most current data available. The internet is changing faster than we can count.

Internet Users

According to Live Stats, “Around 40% of the world population has an internet connection today. In 1995, it was less than 1%. The number of internet users has increased tenfold from 1999 to 2013. The first billion was reached in 2005. The second billion in 2010. The third billion in 2014. The top countries using the internet are, respectively, China, The United States, India, Japan and Brazil.

You will find more statistics at Statista

The CIA has a wonderful Fact Book to get to know the gist of what people are doing by country, which is great information if you are delving to reach a market outside of your own geographic location. You can find summary information on Geography, people, government, economy, energy, communications….

For instance, United States Demographics

Ethnic Stats of US: white 79.96%, black 12.85%, Asian 4.43%, Amerindian and Alaska native 0.97%, native Hawaiian and other Pacific islander 0.18%, two or more races 1.61% (July 2007 estimate)

Religion: Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, Mormon 1.7%, other Christian 1.6%, Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)

0-14 years: 18.99% (male 31,171,623/female 29,845,713)
15-24 years: 13.64% (male 22,473,687/female 21,358,609)
25-54 years: 39.76% (male 63,838,086/female 63,947,036)
55-64 years: 12.73% (male 19,731,664/female 21,172,201)
65 years and over: 14.88% (male 21,129,978/female 26,700,267) (2015 est.)

Median Age:
total: 37.8 years
male: 36.5 years
female: 39.2 years (2015 est.)

Urban Population:
urban population: 81.6% of total population (2015)
rate of urbanization: 1.02% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

New York-Newark 18.593 million; Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana 12.31 million; Chicago 8.745 million; Miami 5.817 million; Dallas-Fort Worth 5.703 million; WASHINGTON, D.C. (capital) 4.955 million (2015)

Find more charts like this on PEW

How does the average American spend their time?

From BLS.Gov

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also provides quite a few tables and a summary, but one table that seems interesting is a break down of recreational time which consists of reading (if you are writing in books) as well as computer time and socializing. Wage tables show income for area, occupation, demographics, and industry. Forall the statistical data from the BLS.

Who are reading blogs?

For a general idea of what kind demographics are reading the top blogs of the industry; however, you can tell by findings that blogs are very NICHE and each blog reaches its own demographic. In essence, there are just as many blogs as there are demographic differences.

Senior Planet made a key observation in analyzing Pingdom’s article. Older people gravitate toward more serious and conservative sites like politics, finance, and discussion based blogs. Younger readers go for light-hearted, brash, and celebrity gossip.

Trends for Blog Posts

Content Length

Longer Word Count–> Google and Shares;
Short attention spans –> Readers.

According to Copypress, 2,416 is the average words for the top ranked posts in Google.

Speaking of quality content, Neil Patel did A/B testing on his site and found that his homepage with 1,292 words led to more leads – better leads – than a second webpage with only 488 words.

In addition, longer content got more shares (and were emailed) than shorter content in this study.

The key is to provide useful information that actually solves problems and answers questions. Most people Google for a quick answer, but they also want a useful answer.

But the same article suggested that the average attention span per user is 9 seconds. Other places say it’s more like 4 seconds and decreases every year.

Providing informative blog posts where an answer can be found in 9 seconds or less is a daunting task, but that’s what readers want.

Articles are best when they are Skim-Friendly. You want to break up articles into bite-sized, skimmable pieces without killing your page’s load time. Aim for texture with…

  • Headings and Subheadings
  • Pictures
  • Quotes
  • Embedded Social Media
  • Bullets and Lists
  • Table of Contents
  • Type of Content

The magic number for lists is 10.

Trust is also very important, so a byline and bio are important components to each post.

Better Graphics

Purpose of Graphics:

  • Remove the overwhelming nature of text
  • Increase views (content with images gets 94% more views than otherwise)
  • Enhance the experience
  • Sum up your post (the brain processes visuals 60,000X faster than it does text)
  • Social Media Friendly (63% of social media is comprised of images)
  • Entice Sharing (Tweets with images received 150% more retweets; 70% more with Facebook)

The experts say to offer a picture every 100 – 350 words (depending on the source). This helps break up text and remove the overwhelming nature of text on the screen.

To entice sharing from your blog and social media, the image is important. It’s the first impression. When sharing a post link, the image attracts clicks; however, sharing an image with a link to the post might expand social media virality. For this reason, you want something people want to share.

In addition, it’s important to pay careful attention to copyrights and usage.
  • Eye-catching, creative photography — think stock photos or Instagram pics
  • Video — YouTube, Vimeo, or Wistia embedded right into a post or shared directly to social media
  • Screenshots — helpful images of your product or workflow
  • Infographics — visual information, either super long and meaty or bite-sized and informative
  • Data visualization — standalone charts and graphs (example)
  • Comics — relevant comic strips or cartoons (example)
  • Memes — popular memes customized to fit the context of your post or update (example)
  • Visual note-taking — casually-designed layout of ideas, typically text-heavy (example)
  • Miscellaneous graphics — images that complement the content.
Images should not be:
  • Inserted willy-nilly, just to have an image.
  • Trite or overused stock photos.
  • Thought of only as share-bait.
  • Boring or irrelevant.
Popular Graphic Concepts in Blogging (on all types of graphics from post graphics to overall design) include:
  • Hand-Drawn 
  • Grunge 
  • Minimalist 
  • Scrapbook Collage 
  • Creative Typography 
  • Transparency 
  • Dimension 

In taking your own photographs, try to mentally draw a tic tac toe board over the picture and aim the center of the focal point at one of the points where two lines intersect. You want the focal point to be the major emphasis, so try to de-emphasize all the other objects.

Real Life Photographs (as opposed to stock photos) seemingly increases trust and are gaining popularity according to AdAge. Instagram type photos are doing better than stock like photos because of the realness.

Conveys Positive Emotions

Pretty much all shared content and clickable content conveys some sort of emotion. Okdork’s study showed the following emotions conveyed in 100 million pieces of content that was shared.

Why People Share Things on the Internet

Sharing acts as “information management”

85% say reading other people’s responses helps them understand and process information and events
73% say they process information more deeply, thoroughly and thoughtfully when they share it

To bring valuable and entertaining content to others; to enrich people

94% carefully consider how the information they share will be useful to the recipient
49% say sharing allows them to inform others of products they care about and potentially change opinions or encourage action

To define ourselves to others

68% share to give people a better sense of who they are and what they care about
“I try to share only information that will reinforce the image I’d like to present: thoughtful, reasoned, kind, interested and passionate about certain things.”

To grow and nourish our relationships

78% share information online because it lets them stay connected to people they may not otherwise stay in touch with
73% share information because it helps them connect with others who share their interests


69% share information because it allows them to feel more involved in the world

To get the word out about causes or brands

84% share because it is a way to support causes or issues they care about

Social Media Stats

Get more charts like this from PEW

Jeffbullas.com has some interesting statistics about usage rates of each social media with an awesome infographic.
This is the who and the where of  social media users.
  1. 72% of all internet users are now active on social media
  2. 18-29 year olds have an 89% usage
  3. The 30-49 bracket sits at 72%
  4. 60 percent of 50 to 60 year olds are active on social media
  5. In the 65 plus bracket, 43% are using social media
  6. Time spent on Facebook per hour spent online by country. Here are the top three. USA citizens get the top gong at 16% followed by the Aussies at 14 minutes and the Brits at 13 minutes.
  7. 71% of users access social media from a mobile device.
The takeaway is that all age groups are starting to use social media, so you are safe to use social media for all ages.

Looking at the following chart he provides in his infographic…

Facebook and Google Plus and Twitter seem to have the most users, but the question is, how influential are the posts and how much time do users spend on each platform? Because of the high usership, you want to hit those social media channels, at least have some presence in those places. Facebook and Twitter are starting to moderate (though Facebook will probably continue to grow). The curve went up and is now going across. Google Plus, Instagram and Pinterest are just beginning to rise. It will most likely go up some more before leveling out. In social media, the biggest influencers are usually those who have been there the longest with fierce activity and penetration into that outlet. If you are going to create any social media plan, you want to pick one of the three growing to pursue as active as you are the ones that have already grown.

But keep in mind the strongest social media is probably still going to continue being Facebook. Pingdom says Facebook is steadily approaching to be the largest country on earth. It just keeps growing. 1.15 billion users!

Some random statistics

Basic Internet Statistics for 2012

If you don’t mind spending money on information, this website provides almost everything at a price.

To gather information on your own insights and analytics, check out my Free Word Template to create some charts of your information all in one place for multiple channels.

Please feel free to Pin this!