#IndiaBlogTrends2016 – 4 key trends that define the state of Indian blogging industry

EXPD interviews more than 100 bloggers across various categories to understand how bloggers are creating content and managing brand engagements

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60% of Indian bloggers surveyed have made an earning out of blogging and are working as full time bloggers. 90% of these bloggers have admitted to charging brands for their services and 97% of them are okay if brands reach out to them with engagement ideas. These findings are part of the latest report – ‘India Blog Trends 2016’ launched by EXPD (digital and content arm of Avian Media).

According to the company, more than 100 popular Indian bloggers across lifestyle, technology, travel and parenting were approached with an online survey of 18 questions. Some of the selected bloggers were approached over phone and email for detailed insights and inputs.

One can download the entire report here: EXPD India Blog Trends 2016 (File size: 30.5MB).

To make life easy for our readers, we have summarized the report. Here are the 4 key findings of the India Blog Trends 2016 report.

Traffic remains the top success indicator

Measure of success still remains with traffic. 63% bloggers said that traffic is their top success indicator. However the report states that a blog’s success is also determined by the number of engaged users it attracts on a regular basis. Additionally, bloggers consider engagement as one of the second most success parameter. “There is no use of getting people to your blog, only to have them browse through the content without engaging with it – commenting on the posts, offering opinion, and initiating discussions.”

Surprisingly, content remains the least success parameter for bloggers.

In the survey, 50% bloggers believe that good content makes for a successful blog. Social media popularity is another metric that bloggers use. With comments vanishing slowly from blogs, most engagement is gauged by the virality of the posts published on social media.

However, with social networks becoming the new age publishers and diminishing referral traffic, it wouldn’t be easy for blogs to only feed on social media traffic.

Full time blogging on the rise

According to the report, 60% of the bloggers surveyed said that they earn from their blogs and called themselves “full-time bloggers.” With blogging on the rise and social media becoming the go to source for content consumption, inspiration to write interesting content isn’t a challenge. 66% bloggers find content from brand’s press releases and another 57% mentioned that social media is their vital source.

Additionally, there are bloggers who rely on their personal sources for exclusive content. 25% bloggers said that they have contacts providing with exclusive news before it goes to the public domain.

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Frequency of blog posts have also gone up. According to the survey, 27% bloggers post multiple times in a day. These are blogs that usually focus on covering news and live events. But 39% of bloggers post once in 2-3 days. These are generally bloggers who review tech products – tend to spend a few days before posting a review for their readers. There is another 23% bloggers who post once in a day.

With frequency going up, managing the show single-handedly is not always possible. According to the report, 55% bloggers have a team to support them.

Bloggers welcome brand partnership

97% have told that they welcome brand partnerships. While bloggers welcome brands, there needs to be an effort to make content more relevant to their niche. Few bloggers also mentioned that blogger engagement needs to evolve for brands. The focus for brands should be on quality and not quantity.

The report also finds that 90% of the bloggers have worked financially with brands. As many as 66% bloggers have said that they charge less than Rs. 25,000 for a range of activities – writing a blog post to publishing those posts on social media, tweeting about a brand or Instagramming product pictures. Only 4% of the bloggers admitted that they charge Rs. 1 lakh on an average for activities they do for brands.

While 67% found brand pitches to be relevant but not all brands engage well with bloggers. 25% bloggers have highlighted that they rarely find relevant or interesting pitches from brands.

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Bloggers feel justified to charge money for services

When a brand pays everyone for their services right from the agency to PR why should bloggers do their job for free? 43% bloggers feel the same and they see no harm in getting paid for their professional services. However, most bloggers accept the fact that in the greed of making money they can’t fool their readers.

Most bloggers from the auto and tech sectors are open to writing product reviews without a fee. But lifestyle, beauty and fashion bloggers charge a fee for product reviews or other brand endorsements.

Forecasts from the report: The report also highlights that going forward a meaningful piece will continue to bring more traffic and virality to the blogs. Neutrality and credibility of the content will be the big determining factor for the success of a blog.

And the future holds the demise of click baits and listicles. Going forward lengthier articles that offer value to readers are most likely to come back. Recently, a report from Pew Research Center stated that people are willing to engage with longer content (i.e., news stories over 1,000 words) on their phones. The report further informed that smartphone users spend more time on longer stories than shorter ones. Users spend about twice as long with longform stories as short ones (123 seconds compared with 57), and long stories attract readers at about the same rate as shorter stories.

The report also answers the age old question: Is blogging dead? “It isn’t. Getting evolved and fine-tuned.”