Influentials are in Forums says PostRelease

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 percent overall.
  • 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 percent overall.
  • 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 online forums:

  • Men are more likely to contribute to forums than women: 23.5 percent of men say they contribute, versus 15.7 percent of women.
  • 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, respectively.
  • 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, respectively.
  • 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.