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Study: When it comes to influence, bloggers beat friend lists

Research from Jupiter and BuzzLogic says that people trust product recommendations on blogs more than they do on social networks. But the real surprise? Only a fifth of respondents said they read at least one blog per month.

Facebook likes to trumpet the value of "trusted referrals"--recommendations and ads with the endorsements of members of your friends list. But a new study from Jupiter Research, commissioned by analytics company BuzzLogic, says that consumer purchases are more likely to be influenced by what they read on a blog versus what their social-networking rosters recommend.

Half of all those surveyed who identify as "blog readers" (people who read more than one blog per month, a fifth of total survey respondents) say that blogs are important to them when it comes to making purchasing decisions. But they don't necessarily find them to be all that reliable: only 15 percent of blog readers, and five percent of all those surveyed said that in the past year they had trusted a blog to help them make a purchase decision.

That's still higher than the number of people who said they used social-network recommendations, though: ten percent of "blog readers," and four percent of all those surveyed.

Results of the survey are similar when it comes to advertising: a quarter of "blog readers" say they trust ads on blogs that they read (versus 43 percent on "familiar" or mainstream media sites), but a slightly lower 19 percent say they trust the ads on social networks.

So what does all this mean? Well, it's good news for BuzzLogic, which tracks blogger influence for clients and has seen blog advertising pushed aside a bit on Madison Avenue in favor of "appvertising" and social ads. Aside from that, the real take-away point is that the results seem to indicate most blogs are less mainstream than you might think: Only a fifth of respondents say they read a blog at least once a month.

That's actually really surprising--or maybe blogs have become so ingrained on the Web that people don't even know they're reading them.