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Vloggers' usefulness questioned

News, 09 February 2015

LONDON: Vlogs are popular but few people turn to them when they want to find out about new products or are looking for product information, despite brands' increased activity in this area, a new report has shown.

In its latest quarterly Trends report, GlobalWebIndex tapped into its ongoing survey of more than 170,000 internet users around the world and found that 42% had watched a vlog in the past month. This total rose to 50% among those aged between 16 and 34, the Telegraph reported.

But vlogs were bottom of a list of nineteen possible sources of information on new brands and products. Just 7% of all internet users discovered new products this way, and even among vlog viewers that figure was only 12%.

Stories on news websites, friends' recommendations and search engines were by far the most popular choices.

Similarly, vlogs came bottom of a 20-strong list of possible sources of product information, with just 5% of internet users turning to them, while less than 10% of vlog viewers chose to do their research in this way.

Search engines, consumer review sites and product/brand sites were the most popular. Blogs about products or brands were also widely used, especially by vlog viewers.

"Brands are falling over themselves to recruit [vloggers] as advocates and the most successful vloggers are now seen as leading experts in their respective fields, from fashion and beauty to music and gaming," according to Jason Mander, head of trends at GWI.

"At present, though, it's clear that vlogging is still heavily associated with entertainment, comedy and advice – rather than a space for overtly commercial activities," he added.

"Incorporating the latter in a way that seems acceptable to the vlogging audience will be crucial."

Meanwhile, Mondelez, the snack foods giant, was rapped over the knuckles last year by the UK's Advertising Standards Authority for failing to make clear that vlogger-created films were in fact ads for its Oreo brand.

That has not deterred it from pursuing this approach and in an upcoming campaign for Cadbury chocolates it has said it will clearly label vlogger videos, although just how it will do this has yet to be confirmed.

Data sourced from Daily Telegraph, The Drum; additional content by Warc staff