The previous research sought to explore the influence of bloggers’ reviews on consumers’ decision to purchase a particular commodity or service. The literature review revealed the existing knowledge concerning whether bloggers had any influence on consumers’ purchasing decision or not. Thus, the three hypotheses of the research sought to address the existing gaps to bring more clarity on the area of study.
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To collect data, the research utilised different data collection methods, including surveys, interviews, and secondary data where the focus was on collecting the relevant data as guided by the hypotheses of the research. The compilation of data was guided by three main goals.
The goals sought to determine whether bloggers had any positive influence on consumers’ intention to acquire products or services, whether consumers found bloggers more trustworthy relative to the official advertisements from the manufacturers of the brands, and/or whether male consumers were less likely to be influenced by the bloggers relative to female clientele.
This section offers an analysis of the data that was collected. Findings from the analysis will ensure that inferences can be put forward to guide the answering of the established hypotheses.
In the process of data collection, survey questions were sent to one hundred and fifty people through Facebook, email, and Google survey. The targeted people were based on a random email database to ensure that the research did not have any bias.
The use of Google consumer surveys further guaranteed that the surveys would reach as many people as possible while at the same time ensuring that the people remained as random as possible to increase the credibility of the research. From the surveys, only 110 copies of the survey were returned. This observation meant that the research attained a high response rate. The return rate is represented below:
Chart 1: Return Rate
However, out of the surveys that were returned, only 90 questionnaires were fully completed. Hence, 20 of the returned surveys were incomplete. The chart below represents the findings.
Chart 2: Rate of Completion
From the above analysis, it is evident that the response rate of 73% was very impressive for the research. The study can generate crucial and reliable findings concerning the research hypotheses. However, although the incomplete surveys took a considerable share of the returned responses, the remaining 60% of the surveys was an adequate number that could be used to infer significant findings to the research.
Another crucial finding from the response rate is based on the disparities between males and females. In this case, more women than men responded to the surveys. Out of the 90 surveys that were completed, 62 respondents were females while the remaining 28 were males as represented below:
Chart 3: Respondents by Gender
Bloggers’ Effect on Consumers’ Purchasing Decision
In this section, the focus is to determine what the collected survey revealed concerning the first hypothesis. The hypothesis sought to determine whether the respondents of the research had ever tried to purchase products after reading reviews on blog posts or blog videos.
In this case, 74 respondents indicated that they have tried to purchase a product after reading positive reviews on blogs concerning a given product. The remaining 16 interviewees indicated that they had not tried to acquire a product after reading such reviews on blogs. The respondents who indicated that blogs had a positive influence on their purchasing decision cited different reasons for such influence on their purchasing decision.
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For instance, some of them claimed that the reviews helped them to narrow down to a given product because many products in the market are of the same kind, thus making it difficult to choose one from the rest. In this case, a positive review was the primary incentive that drove the need for a client to purchase a given product. Other reasons included the fact that the respondents were confident of the bloggers’ opinions, especially when a product was new to them.
On the other hand, clients who were not influenced by the bloggers’ reviews cited different reasons for their situation. For instance, some respondents asserted that the information that was available in a single blog post was often too much. In many instances, they did not bother reading such posts to their completion.
Further, other respondents cited that they easily forgot the content of what they read in the blog posts. This case meant that such information was non-influential to their decision-making. Other respondents claimed that blog posts were just opinions and that the best approach to them was to try the product themselves, rather than to depend on the opinions and experience of others on the product.
To this group of people, each person’s experience was subjective. Consequently, since such exposure did not reflect other people’s experience, there was the need for one to have his or her personal familiarity with a given product.
Another crucial question in the survey sought to reveal whether the respondents trusted the opinions that were presented on blog posts. In this case, 71.1%, representing 64 people, indicated that they trusted the information that bloggers presented concerning a given product, as opposed to 28.9% or 26 respondents who did not trust such information as represented in the graph below:
Graph 1: Trust in Bloggers’ Reviews
Respondents who expressed trust in blog posts and bloggers’ reviews cited several reasons. Firstly, the respondents cited that bloggers often had a detailed analysis of a product, including a comparison with others. Hence, according to the respondents, such reviews had an objective answer, which they could rely on when making purchasing decisions.
Further, the respondents pointed out that many blog reviews had detailed information, which was represented as a summary to allowed consumers to make an objective decision on whether they needed such a product or not. Another important factor that made consumers trust the bloggers was the fact that many of the bloggers upheld interaction with their blog readers where they answered any questions that the readers raised concerning the products on review (Wang & Lin 2011; Booth & Matic 2011).
Such interaction paved a way for other readers to view such reviews as more credible and a true reflection of the product experience. This situation led to a positive influence on the readers’ decision-making concerning the purchasing of such products or services (Matsumura, Yamamoto, & Tomozawa 2008).
The respondents who indicated that they did not trust in blog posts and bloggers’ product reviews cited different reasons for their mistrust. For instance, they claimed that bloggers often posted opinions, rather than objective reviews. Hence, they were not authoritative compared to any other person who might have experienced the product.
Further, they revealed how difficult it was to prove the credibility of the bloggers. According to them, it was immaterial to trust such reviews. Other respondents pointed out they would trust words and reviews from friends and family as compared to bloggers since they had a first-hand interact with their relatives, as opposed to bloggers whom they could not tell anything about their reliability.
The survey also sought to reveal whether the respondents thought that their intentions to purchase a product or a service were influenced by the bloggers or not. From the responses, out of the 90 completed responses, 51 people or 56.7% indicated that they thought that their intentions of purchasing were influenced by bloggers either consciously or unconsciously.
In this case, the respondents revealed how they often went to purchase the given product after listening to bloggers or reading bloggers’ reviews. The remaining 39 people (43.3%) indicated that they did not think that their purchase intentions were influenced by bloggers in any way. In this category, the main argument was that they did not trust bloggers and hence their reason for thinking that their purchase intentions were not influenced by the bloggers.
From the above analysis, the responses reveal that indeed many consumers are positively influenced by bloggers to purchase a given product. Consequently, the findings prove that the hypothesis ‘Bloggers positively affect consumers’ intention to purchase the products/service’ is true for the research.
Bloggers’ Trustworthiness as Compared to Brand Advertisements
In this section, the focus is on reviewing the responses concerning the second hypothesis of the research, which seeks to determine whether consumers trust bloggers than official advertisements from the manufacturers or brands. Many manufacturers and brand use television, radio, magazines, and other forms of advertisements to reach millions of potential customers.
Hence, it is crucial to investigate whether such advertisements are trusted as compared to blog posts on the same products (Cheong & Morrison 2008). The responses from the data revealed that 84 of the 90 respondents trusted bloggers more than official advertisements on given products for various reasons. The primary reason that was cited for this mistrust over official advertisements was bias on the part of the manufacturer or brand.
In other words, for the manufacturer or brand, the focus is on presenting the product in the best way possible (Hsu, Lin, & Chiang 2013). In this case, it is not easy to be objective since manufacturers cannot give negative reviews of the products or brand they are selling. However, bloggers who are much unaffiliated to the products’ manufacturers or brands do not have the obligation to write only positively on a given product (Chu & Kamal 2008).
Therefore, this lack of bias makes consumers view bloggers as more trustworthy since they give dispassionate information and reviews concerning a given product or service. On the other hand, the remaining six respondents who represented 16% of the respondents indicated that they did not trust any of the two sides. In this case, according to them, bloggers are as untrustworthy as the manufacturers, brands, or advertisements. The graph below represents the above findings.
Graph 2: Respondents’ Trust in Bloggers as Compared to Brand Advertisements
From the above discussion, it is evident that the findings positively show that indeed, respondents view bloggers as more trustworthy as compared to brands or manufacturers’ advertisements. This finding clearly indicates that the hypothesis, ‘Consumers find bloggers more trustworthy than the official advertisement from the manufacturers/bran’ is true.
The Influence of Bloggers on Male Customers as Compared to Female Customers
In this section, the focus is on the third hypothesis, which sought to find the level of bloggers’ influence on customers of the two genders. In this case, the findings revealed that out of the 74 people who chose to try a product after reading a blog post, 78.3% of the respondents were females while the remaining 21.7% were males. The pie chart below shows the findings:
Chart 3: Influence of Bloggers on Clients’ Purchasing Decision per Gender
Further, from the 51 people who felt that their intentions to purchasing was influenced by bloggers, 42 (82.3%) were female while the remaining 9 (17.7%) were male. The chart below represents the findings:
Chart 4: Influence of Bloggers on Consumers’ Purchasing Intentions by Gender
From the above discussion, it is evident that more females than males are influenced by bloggers as far as their purchasing decisions are concerned. Consequently, the findings of the research have positively supported the hypothesis ‘Male customers will be less easily influenced by the bloggers relative to female customers’.
Overall, the findings of the research have revealed crucial and authoritative information that positively contributes to the growing knowledge in research concerning the influence of bloggers on the purchasing decisions of consumers of various products. It is without doubt that indeed the influence of bloggers is very profound. Thus, many companies have to consider the use of bloggers and blogs as viable avenues for advertising their products.
Booth, N & Matic, J 2011, ‘Mapping and leveraging influencers in social media to shape corporate brand perceptions’, Corporate Communications: An International Journal, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 184-191.
Cheong, H & Morrison, M 2008, ‘Consumers’ reliance on product information and recommendations found in UGC’, Journal of Interactive Advertising, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 38-49.
Chu, S & Kamal, S 2008, ‘The effect of perceived blogger credibility and argument quality on message elaboration and brand attitudes: An exploratory study’, Journal of Interactive Advertising, vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 26-37.
Hsu, C, Lin, J & Chiang, H 2013, ‘The effects of blogger recommendations on customers’ online shopping intentions’, Internet Research, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 69-88.
Matsumura, N, Yamamoto, H & Tomozawa, D 2008, ‘Finding Influencers and Consumer Insights in the Blogosphere’, ICWSM, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 41-53.
Wang, S & Lin, J 2011, ‘The effect of social influence on bloggers’ usage intention’, Online Information Review, vol. 35, no. 1, pp. 50-65.