According to a survey released today by PostRelease (the forum advertising
network), people who contribute to online forums are overwhelmingly more engaged
in influential activities than people who don't use forums.
In fact, those contributing to online forums are 10 times more likely than
non-contributors to also publish a weblog, and are 9 times more likely to take
an active role in organizing an offline event or meetup for a group that originally
met online. Most interesting is that forum-users are 3.5 times more
likely to proactively recommend a particular purchase to someone else, 3.5 times
more likely to share links about new products, 4 times more likely to post
online ratings and reviews, and almost twice as likely to share advice –
offline and in person – based on information they’ve read online.
“Online forums are great places to find enthusiastic consumers and
influential brand advocates,” said Justin Choi, founder and president of
PostRelease. “Forums are essentially online gathering places for people with
similar passions, so it’s natural that their passion would extend beyond the
forum’s virtual walls. The people in forums are often discussing specific
products, sharing advice and asking each other for recommendations. For
marketers, participating in that discussion is not quite as simple as jumping
into a forum conversation – forums have rules about that. But there are tools
for connecting in a way that’s transparent and relevant.”
79.2 percent of forum contributors
help a friend or family member make a decision about a product purchase –
compared with 47.6 percent of non-contributors and 53.8 percent overall.
65 percent of forum contributors
share advice (offline and in person) based on information that they’ve
read online – compared with 35 percent of non-contributors and 40.8
66 percent of forum contributors
post online ratings/reviews of products/services, compared with 16.8 percent
of non-contributors and 26.4 percent overall.
57.7 percent of forum contributors
proactively recommend that someone make a particular purchase – compared
with 16.9 percent of non-contributors and 24.9 percent overall.
43.6 percent of forum contributors
share links to articles about new products or with reviews of products –
compared with 12 percent of non-contributors and 18.2 percent overall.
35.6 percent of forum contributors
attend an offline event or meet up where people with similar interests or
who share the same hobby connect – compared with 13.8 percent of
non-contributors and 18 percent overall.
20.6 percent of forum contributors
publish a blog – compared with 2.1 percent of non-contributors and 5.7
18.8 percent of forum contributors
take an active role in organizing an offline event or meet up for a group
that met originally online – compared with 2.4 percent of non-contributors
and 5.6 percent overall.
The study also offers insights about who is most likely to contribute to
Men are more likely to contribute to forums
than women: 23.5 percent of men say they contribute, versus 15.7 percent of
Younger respondents were more likely to say
they contribute to forums: one-third of those 18-24 and one-fourth of those
25-34, compared with one in five overall.
Respondents with children participate in
forums more than those without: 26 percent versus 16.3 percent,
A college education makes a difference: 20
percent of respondents with post-grad degrees participate in forums and 21.8
percent of those with at least some college said the same, compared with
12.9 percent of respondents with high school or less.
Non-white respondents were more likely than
white respondents to contribute: 26 percent versus 18 percent,
Those in the South and West are more active
in forums than those in the Northeast and Midwest: 23.2 percent, 22.2
percent, 16 percent and 13.5 percent, respectively.