A few days ago we gave our readers an overview about the most popular products among blogggers in Sweden, based on statistics from our Twingly eTrade solution that connects e-commerce sites with blogs. But since we have many clients in the other Nordic countries as well, we can reveal similiar statistics about Denmark, Norway and Finland. We had a look at the data and compiled a list of products at a couple of selected stores that were getting the highest number of incoming links from blogs in 2012. So here they are, the most popular products among bloggers in the Nordics.
Even though millions of people publish in blogs, and despite the fact that blogs actually have a bigger influence on purchase decisions than Facebook, it’s an ongoing meme that people supposedly have moved on from blogging to other social media channels. While it is true that there is more fragmentation in the social media sphere and that the occasional Twitter or Facebook post from today might have ended up as a very short blog post a few years ago, blogging itself could not be more far away from outdated or irrelevant. And we have numbers to prove that:
Blog posts in Swedish per year
Being based in Sweden, a country of early adopters where blogging took of many years ago, we wanted to know whether blogging has peaked here or not. So we used our blog data to find out. The clear answer: It hasn’t! With almost 17 million posts published on blogs in Swedish in 2012, blogging activity has been tremendously bigger than in the year before, when less than 14 million posts appeared on Swedish blogs. The highest number of blog posts per month was published in October, with about 1,8 million.
Blog posts in Swedish per month
Analysing the number of bloggers we found that almost 400.000 people wrote at least one blog post in Swedish in 2012. Among them, 172.178 were active bloggers, meaning that they wrote at least one blog post per quarter.
Number of active bloggers in Sweden
We also had a look at how 2013 started compared to 2012, and even there we witnessed an increase in blogging activity: The number of blog posts published in the beginning of 2013 was almost 26 percent higher than in early 2012, and we saw more active bloggers during the first month of 2013 than in the same period of last year.
All in all, at least when focusing on Sweden, blogging as a phenomenon might not create the same headlines anymore as some years ago, but the actual activity is still on the rise. Blogging can be seen as the foundation of social media, with all the other communication channels and tools based around it. That was the case back in 2009, and that’s even more the case today.
If you understand Swedish, here are some more thoughts about the state of blogging in Sweden.
One of our focus areas at Twingly is e-commerce. Our solutions help dozens of major online shops to connect with the blogosphere and by that increase traffic and sales. Thus we are always interested in staying up to date about the latest trends in e-commerce. If we understand our clients we can make better products to serve their needs.
We just took some time to go through the results of a fresh report about the e-commerce year 2012 in Sweden (the home country of Twingly), and we thought we highlight some of the most significant developments and trends in this blog post. Naturally the state of the e-commerce sector varies from country to country, but the general direction and outlook is similar everywhere: More people buy more stuff on the Internet, via traditional computers and increasingly on mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
If you want to work yourself through the full report in Swedish you can download it form here (PDF). Otherwise, have a look at the following bullet points which we think are most relevant for readers of the Twingly blog:
> In 2012, 40 percent of the Swedish consumers bought at least one Christmas present online.
> 73 percent of Swedish consumers have bought something online in the last quarter 2012.
> Only 8 percent of Swedish consumers have never purchased something online.
> The product categories that generated the most revenue in 2012 were electronics followed by fashion, books and sport/leisure.
> The list of product categories that most consumers have said to have purchased from in 2012 is led by books including audio books, followed by fashion, computers and computer equipment, home electronics, movies and CDs.
> The frequency of buying things online was almost identically between women and men, but there are some gender-specific differences regarding the most popular product categories, i.e. men buy more computers and women by more books on the web.
> 19 percent of all consumers in Sweden have at least one time purchased a product via tablet or smartphone in 2012.
> 3 percent of the consumers have made their latest product purchase after finding information about it in social media. The most common way of finding a product to buy is through friends or acquaintances, which led 17 percent of the consumers to their most recent buying decision.
> If being asked about the prefered source for information about products online, 54 percent mentioned comparison engines, 41 percent friends and acquaintances, and already 11 percent favour social media to find goods to buy on the web.
> 92 percent of the consumers named comprehensive and clear information about products as one important criteria for a good e-commerce offering – which is exactly why we offer our eTrade solution.
Since we know a bit about what’s trending in the blogosphere at any second of the day, we have started to publish occasional reports to give you some insights into the latest trends from the world of blogs. After our report on books and the one on TV/radio, today we proudly present our latest creation: The Twingly Report Fitness (with a focus on Sweden).
Maybe you didn’t know it, but there is a huge number of people out there who blog about their passion to stay fit and healthy. For the report we took a look at the Swedish fitness blogosphere and provide you with some interesting details about who those persons are that blog about fitness, which gym chains they write about, which online stores they visit for equipment, tools and the right nutrition, as well as which fitness brands their favour.
You can find the full bilingual report (Swedish/English) here as a free PDF download twingly.com/reports. If you just want to get a very quick overview, keep on reading.
One of our main findings when analyzing the fitness blogosphere was that girls seem to be much more successful with running popular fitness blogs. On our top list with the blogs that get most incoming links, four out of five bloggers are girls. We noticed that many of the people blogging about fitness do also work in that field, for instance as gym instructors or personal trainers.
The five Swedish fitness blogs with the most incoming links are:
Furthermore, we analyzed which of the major Swedish gym chains are being linked to most from fitness blogs. The diagram shows the result:
Everybody who takes fitness seriously needs the right equipment and nutrition, thus it’s no surprise that fitness bloggers link a lot to online shops where they buy everything they need to fulfill their goals. Here is the ranking – the first diagram shows stores for dietary supplements, the second shops for sports clothing and other equipment.
In clothes graph you can se that Stadium, that uses Twingly to engage bloggers to write about their products, have over 8 times more links than one of their main rivals and equal in size – Intersport.
Check out the report if you are interested in all the details. As of today, all our previous and future reports will be presented on the dedicated website twingly.com/reports.
There is lots of talk about the so called “second screen” these days, meaning that viewers of live TV use their smartphones and tablets for interacting with other people watching the same show or movie, via Twitter, Facebook or dedicated second screen apps.
People want to engage with the content they consume, and they want to tell others about it. Thus, it is no surprise that many blog posts discuss current or upcoming TV shows, and often in a more comprehensive way than what’s possible in 140 characters.
For us at Twingly that was reason enough to analyse which of the websites and TV stations are being linked to from blogs the most. We published the results as a PDF report last week. For everybody who doesn’t understand the Swedish language, here is a summary of the results:
During the last 4 month, we found 18.000 links from blogs to Swedish TV and radio websites, with Public broadcasting service being the clear winner in regards to engaging the blogosphere.
81 percent of all links to the websites of Swedish TV channels referred to the Swedish public broadcasting TV SVT, with privately run free TV station TV4 capturing 9 percent of the links from blogs. SVT’s coverage from the Olympic Games in London turned out to be the most engaging TV content in the blogosphere during the past 4 month.
Even when looking at the various video-on-demand services available in Sweden run by TV stations and dedicated video services, SVT gets the lion’s share of the links with svtplay.se (54 percent), with tv4play.se coming second (31 percent). Newly launched Netflix hasn’t gotten too much of the Swedish blogosphere’s attention yet, although that might change in the future.
Among links to Swedish radio stations, an impressive 99 percent go to sverigesradio.se, the website of the Swedish public broadcasting radio.
We also had a look at the websites of international TV stations and how much their content is being discussed in the global blogosphere. With 66.147 links from blogs in the past 4 month, BCC.com ranks highest among the major TV stations, followed by CNN.com with 55.896 links and foxnews.com with 17.118.
If you want to see a detailed visual ranking for the different categories we examined, have a look at the 8 page report (PDF).
WordPress rules the blogosphere. That for close observers not surprising fact has been proven once again: Our friends at the website monitoring service Pingdom have looked at the current list of Technorati’s top 100 blogs and analysed which software those 100 most popular blogs in the world are running on.
The clear winner: WordPress! 39 of those 100 blogs examined are using a self-hosted version of WordPress, and additional 9 chose the hosted version of WordPress at WordPress.com (which actually contains a special “VIP” self-hosted solution as well).
So of the 100 top blogs worldwide, almost half runs on WordPress. That’s an impressive dominance for the open source blogging tool and a huge gain compared to 2009, when “only” 32 percent of the leading blogs used either the self-hosted or the hosted version of WordPress.
14 blogs among the Technorati top 100 created their own custom blogging solution, 7 use Movable Type, 6 Drupal, only 2 TypePad (compared to 16 in 2009) and at least 2 Tumblr, the up-and-coming tool for quick and easy blogging. For 8 sites, the Pingdom folks couldn’t identify the software behind, but chances are high that many of them are self-hosted as well.
Interesting stats! Thanks to Pingdom for sifting through the list, and thanks for reminding us of that Technorati actually still exists ; )
Every second, a huge and every increasing amount of data is published on the web. Gavagai, a Twingly Data client based in Stockholm, has developed a Technology to read, aggregate and understand this content. Fredrik Olsson, the Chief Data Officer, gives some more insights into this fascinating business and about what the startup is able to do with the blog data it collects.
At Gavagai, you do some sophisticated stuff. Please tell us in a few sentences what your business is all about? It’s about continuously reading tremendously large and dynamic text streams, and delivering timely, and actionable intelligence based on the aggregation of information therein. Of course, what is actionable depends on the information needs you as an actor in a particular domain have, be it brand management, assessing threat levels for targets-at-risk, or keeping track of the sentiment towards a particular tradable asset. Example information needs that you are able to address using Ethersource, our system, include:
* How is my brand perceived in comparison to those of my competitors’?
* Why are my customers unsubscribing from the services that I’m offering?
* When is the best time to launch this particular advertising campaign?
* How is the campaign, recently launched by my competitor, received
among my target audience?
* Where is it most likely that the on-line protests against a certain
phenomenon will be publicly manifested in terms of a demonstration?
What’s the founding story of Gavagai?
Gavagai was founded in 2008 by my colleagues Jussi Karlgren and Magnus Sahlgren, as a spin-off from the Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS). Gavagai was formed as a response to the many inquiries Magnus and Jussi received from people outside SICS regarding their research. Gavagai has been operational in its current incarnation since late 2010.
You are one of Twingly’s Data clients, that means you are using our API to access data from Swedish and English speaking blogs. Why do you need this information and what do you use it for?
We read data from Twingly 24/7. In particular, the Twingly live feed gives what we believe to be a very good coverage of Swedish blogs, which of course is very important to us in meeting the kinds of information needs outlined above, expressed by domestic actors.
Do you have any insights about this data from Blogs in Swedish and English you want to share? Some surprising fact or observation?
One epiphany we had some time ago was that we’re now able to aggregate and inspect attitudes and opinions of a population as a whole, that’s not necessarily visible in any of the parts. For instance, we can clearly see that Swedish bloggers are optimistic during holidays and weekends, something which is very hard to assess from the posts of any one individual. Analogously, we also pick up on aversive or hostile tendencies in the online population towards a given subject, but where it is hard to identify all the facets of the tendency in any one individual. For example, we recently set up a Xenophobic Tracker using, among other things, the Swedish blogosphere as input; the propensity of violent expressions in that context is not a pretty read.
But it’s not the peak items that we’re most pleased with. With Ethersource, we can pick up and note weak signals and tendencies where other methods fail.
What type of companies or organisations use your services?
The kinds of actors that require actionable intelligence in their efforts to manage brands, make informed decision based on the ‘temperature’ of an on-line population as a whole, keep track of the general mood in the markets, or trade with specific assets.
Your titel is “Chief Data Officer”. That’s not too common, is it? Do you think every company will need a CDO in the future?
No, I don’t think every company will need a CDO in the future. Hopefully, companies will be able to scale down on their data management activities, perhaps due to their use of tools and techniques such as Ethersource, and instead focus on their core business. Much the same way we are able to focus on our core business by obtaining data from Twingly instead of harvesting it all ourselves.
Big Data is one of the hottest buzzwords right now, which is a field you are active in. What’s the potential and biggest challenges of the increasing amount of data?
We’re currently concerned with human-generated text, so it is in the light of that the response to this question should be read.
The biggest challenge with Big Data is to stop focusing on Big Data. Big Data will, by virtue of the prevailing definition, always be slightly too big to handle with common tools. This has mainly resulted in people being obsessed with processing speed and ability to store large amounts of data. Few, if any, have focused on a layer in the so called Big Data Stack that so far has been missing: the Semantic Processing Layer. The key challenge for Big Data is to come to the point where it is easy and swift to turn massive data streams into actionable intelligence; knowledge that you and your organization can act upon in order to obtain a competitive advantage. To put it another way; the key challenge of Big Data is to be of service.
Being a researcher by training and heart, I believe that we’ve yet to imagine the biggest potential there is in harnessing truly Big Data. Let’s talk about that in a few years, when a more representative sample of our world’s population is active on-line. Then, we’ll be able to find the collective answers to questions to mankind, that we’re not able to think of now.
What’s on your roadmap for the upcoming years? Where do you see the biggest growth and potential for Gavagai?
We’ve got very exciting times ahead of us! Ethersource is already unique in the way it is able to read amounts of text that would overwhelm traditional language processing methods, handle multiple (all) languages, in real-time, and learn from variations in the input in an unsupervised manner.
Our development plans involve some fairly hefty stuff. In the short term, we’ll roll out a game changer in terms of a way of identifying the many meanings of a given concept, and use that information to disambiguate expressions of that concept as they appear in social media. For instance, imagine that you are a brand manager for Apple, Visa, “3” or some other brand with an inherently ambiguous and common name: How do you go about monitoring the attitudes and opinions towards the meaning of the word that constitutes your brand, and only that meaning? There is a solution…
The biggest growth and potential for Gavagai is as a supplier of the Ethersource technology to other companies, such as analytics firms, trading desks, governmental agencies etc, that already have an infrastructure in place, but that lacks the competitive edge the ability to understand and make sense of large text streams in multiple languages gives. Ethersource is an implementation of the Semantic Processing Layer of the Big Data Stack, and we intend to move it as such.
If you following the public debate about technology on the web, it is very likely that you at least once have stumbled over an article, tweet or comment claiming that blogs are slowly disappearing, and eventually might die. A seemingly obvious argument that would support this theory is the appearance of a huge number of ways for users to publish their thoughts and opinions. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Pinterest are growing rapidly and are often being seen as the easier and quicker way for publishing of text and personal media.
And while that might be true in some cases, recent statistics from Nielsen/McKinsey research company NM Incite show that despite the increasing number of competing publishing platforms and the huge amount of time users spend on social media sites, the number of blogs is continuing to grow.
In October 2011, NM Incite tracked over 173 million blogs around the world as source of buzz. At the end of the year, that number had risen to 181 million. In 2006, the company only tracked 36 million. As the graph shows, this growth has been steady, with no slowdown during the past two years, when social media exploded.
So everybody who still thinks blogging has no future should rethink that statement. But what’s certainly going to happen is a fragmentation of the blogging landscape in terms of which platforms and technologies are being used. Just look at Google+ where some users post extensive texts. That might not be blogging in the traditional sense because no typical blog CMS is used, no pingbacks are being sent and no layout customization is possible. Nevertheless it doesn’t seem right to claim those users aren’t blogging just because they do it within a social network.
The NM Incite stats offer some additional insights into who bloggers are: The majority is female and half of all bloggers are aged between 18 and 34. Furthermore, bloggers are well-educated and active social web users – no real surprise here. In the US, the three biggest blog platforms Blogger, WordPress and Tumblr reach 80 million unique visitors per month.
So yes, blogging will evolve and change, and some users might even leave their old-fashioned blog in favour of a better connected social-media-site. But the need for people to express won’t be affected by that. We don’t know which platform they will use in 2, 5 or 10 years. But there is one thing we know for sure: They won’t stop publishing online.
Twingly is being used by a host of different kinds of websites. Even political parties such as the Swedish Social Democratic Party integrate with our Technology to connect with the blogosphere. We had a chat with Natalie Sial, responsible for web and social media at the Swedish Social Democratic Party, about how politics, social media and blogs influence each other.
Engaging in social media is being seen as crucial for today’s politics. Do you think it actually is still possible for a party to not interact with the people online? No, I don’t think it is possible for anyone to mobilise or interact today if you are not present and visible online.
Can you give us a quick overview about your social media activities? We want to reach voters on their platforms of choice. More than 50 percent of the Swedish population is on Facebook. Therefore it’s an important platform for communication and dialogue. We interact and let people have political dialogues on fan pages and we profile our political leaders on Facebook. Then we have Twitter which plays an important role for transparency and for spreading information. We tweet for example live updates from our press conferences and events as well as about everyday issues. Our YouTube channel is also pretty big and we upload everything from whole speeches to shorter clips about policies and presentations. Furthermore we organise progressive bloggers (red, green, independent) on Sweden’s biggest blog network Netroots. And our own website socialdemokraterna.se acts as the main communications platform, where all of our engagements on different social media channels are visible and centralized.
What is the story behind Netroots?
There wasn’t a good gateway to reach progressive bloggers in Sweden, so we are trying to fill that gap with Netroots.se which started in 2006. It is Swedens biggest blog network for progressives, gathering around 700 bloggers. We created the platform to make it easier for them to reach out. There are no representatives or board – it’s a network where blogger can share ideas. Since the network is so big now we saw a need for gatherings in real life. Small gatherings and meetings have been held around Sweden but now we decided to launch a national conference. From April 27 to April 29 in Stockholm we will be arranging the biggest event for progressives. The main topic will be methods on how to become a better net activist, blogger or opinion former using online tools. Special guests such as experts and bloggers from the US, UK and Middle East will be joining. You can read more on www.natrot12.se.
How much influence do bloggers nowadays have on politics?
It’s growing in Sweden. It was the bloggers that raised the health and auto insurance debate in the election 2010 which in the end was the only thing people were talking about. 70 percent of journalists today look at blogs and social media to get inspiration for news (according to Hans Kullin, slide 7). It is certainly growing. A lot of politicians take influences from people’s opinions which happens more often when an increasing number of people interact online.
You use Twingly to show incoming links from blogs. How has that worked out for you and what kind of feedback did you get? For us it is important to show a bigger picture of political debates apart from the traditional media. We can never tell anyone what to think or write. But we can make it more interesting to blog about politics.
Recently the leader of Swedish Social Democrats was forced to leave his position. The story got a lot of media spotlight. How did this affect your social media activities? Sweden has seen such levels of political social media activities before. The issues around our former party leader Håkan Juholt had great impact on many people and we saw huge numbers of tweets, blog posts and Facebook updates. We changed strategy and tried to open up as much as possible and tweet updates regularly about what was going on. We got positive reactions about that. The last year has been outstanding in regards to media coverage of our party – we couldn’t reach out in any better way than simply opening up and starting to communicate using all our online channels more frequently and cohesive.
As it turns out, we had 5 hits and only 2 misses, of which one was a close miss. Not a bad score at all! Stick around for our upcoming predictions for 2012!
Google buys MySpace
Nope. Nu-uh. Well, kind of close. MySpace was acquired, just as we predicted. But not by Google but by a small ad network called Specific Media with Justin Timberlake as one of the financiers. For a meager €35M, setting NewsCorp back just over half a billion dollars compared to what they bought the website for in 2005. Although in between, they did sign an advertising deal with Google worth $900M, so perhaps it ended up about even.
Everything goes mobile and local
Nailed it! It is even so obvious that our reaction to this now was “huh? was that really a prediction for 2011, it feels as if it happened waaay earlier.” Everything will keep going more mobile and more location based. Facebook check-ins are now mainstream, and all the big Internet companies are thinking mobile first in their strategies. It is not without cause. According to our upcoming predictions, smartphone adoption will be the strongest driving force for Internet penetration all over the world in 2012 and beyond.
Tablet newspapers will find success if they include content from several newspapers
Well, no. The experimenting goes on although straight-out success is hard earned. So far we haven’t seen anyone really nail the right format for reading newspapers on the iPad. Er, sorry, tablets. It’s easy to forget there are multiple vendors in the tablet space, you don’t see many others around as of yet. Galaxy Note is the sexier one among the iPad competitors with a very slim form factor and capable feature set.
Facebook launches Facebook phone Nailed it! Even though it has not yet seen the light of day, Facebook is leaning so heavily towards mobile that they are even planning to release their own hardware.
Realtime commenting will be everywhere
Nailed it! Facebook comments are now everywhere, realtime and social. When we comment in many blogs and newspapers, the comments are also displayed in our timelines inside of Facebook, driving our friends to the content we commented on. But also moving the conversation into Facebook and with that much of the pageviews/ad revenue otherwise generated by users refreshing comment threads.
Gowalla pivots like crazy to try to catch up with Foursquare
Nailed it! Gowalla was reborn in September 2011. Sad to say, the pivot really didn’t help anything but the companies downward spiral. The founders decided to shut down the company and accept gratuitous employment offers from Facebook.
With as much as five bulls-eye hits, one close miss and only one completely failed prediction, we are all out happy with the results! Let’s hope we can do as good for 2012!