UK-based fashion and style bloggers have abandoned their blogs in droves favouring Instagram according to a new survey by Vuelio, but at what cost?
The number of UK-based fashion & Beauty blogs has plummeted according to Vuelio’s UK Bloggers Survey 2019, the annual report on the blogging industry.
In 2016 nearly one-in-four blogs (22%) recorded in the survey were devoted to the fashion and beauty vertical. Figures released this week by the PR and comms software company show the percentage share has collapsed to just 8%. This represents a 64% drop.
As this category is most likely to attract between 1,000 – 10,000 unique visitors per month - classified as medium size websites - it suggests the market for this topic is in decline.
The rise of Instagram is probably a factor as these visual-friendly topics have found natural homes on the social platform without the need to have their own blogs.
Instagram boasts over 1 billion monthly active users. In the UK more than one-in-three (34%) of all brand-sponsored content on the platform falls within the fashion and style vertical according to a report last year by CampaignDeus. A further one-in-five (21%) brand-sponsored posts are devoted the to beauty vertical. This means that over half (55%) of all brand-sponsored posts from UK-based accounts on Instagram come from fashion and style or beauty verticals.
The Facebook-owned platform is capitalising on attracting influencers and brands. Earlier this month Instagram announced a new way for brands to sponsor posts created by influencers. "Branded content ads," as Instagram calls the new offering, are part of the service's broader strategy to connect advertisers and creators in more formal partnerships.
Instagram is also testing new creator accounts. These offer influencers more in-depth analytics over their follower counts plus the ability to filter direct messages.
Yesterday, Instagram introduced Checkout, a new feature which turns the photo-sharing app into a direct commerce platform. Checkout lets users who have uploaded their credit card details to buy products they see in their feed, in a few clicks.
Creator accounts, Checkout and branded content ads are designed to hand out carrots by the sackful to both brands and influencers. History suggests that where there’s a Mark Zuckerberg carrot, a Zuckerberg-shaped stick won't be too far behind.
Not all fashion bloggers are following the seeming trend to shift platforms to Instagram. Alex Stedman, the woman behind The Frugality blog is keen to place her website front and centre. Speaking on an expert panel at Adweek on Monday the fashion-on-a-budget influencer told the audience: “I put my website first. Instagram is secondary. But when many think of influencers they think only of Instagram. My work comes from my blog. I use Instagram to pull people to it.”
Last week’s Instagram outage reminds brands and influencers alike to have a backup communications plan, and not to neglect their blogs - the platforms they own and control.
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Supersectors within blogger verticals
Though fashion and beauty blogs have become less popular they still retain their place in the top five verticals by volume, according to the Vuelio poll. Dubbed ‘Supersectors’ by Vuelio the other key verticals are Lifestyle, Parenting, Food & Drink and Travel.
Combined, these Supersectors account for around two-thirds of all blogs. The supersectors receive more PR pitches for stories than any other category, suggesting they’re key to the growth of influencer marketing. This is reflected in charges for blog posts – Fashion & Beauty and Food & Drink have the biggest proportion of bloggers who charge over £1,000 per blog post.
Rise of the professional blogger
Over a quarter of all content published on a blog is compensated for in some way according to Vuelio. The number of full-time bloggers – for whom blogging is their main source of income – has increased by 50% year-on-year, too. While the vast majority of bloggers charge under £250 per post, one-in-five (19%) command fees above this reflecting a broader professionalisation of the industry, which is fast becoming a recognised career choice.
Professional bloggers earn even more for collaborations, which typically involve multiple blog posts and social media posts. A quarter of bloggers charge over £250 for a full collaboration, with 4% earning over £1,000.
Other highlights from the Vuelio UK bloggers survey 2019
- Bloggers are posting less frequently with most posting just once a week
- Bloggers are still predominantly female, but the age profile of bloggers is more widely spread
- Lifestyle blogs are mostly written by females whereas travel blogging is split between men and women equally
- Most bloggers have just one blog which they own and manage – agents generally have little impact on their work
- Twitter and Facebook are the preferred channels to promote blog content, while Instagram, Pinterest and Bloglovin’ are more popular with women and LinkedIn with men
- Traditional PR pitches based on sending press releases are ineffective as they’re not resulting in published content
- Relationships with PRs are generally good but bloggers feel they lack credibility compared to traditional journalists
- Bloggers prefer to negotiate compensation based on non-quantifiable measures such as quality, whereas PRs use data to measure the blog performance
- Bloggers expect to increase the amount of advertising they carry and their audience to become more sceptical of their motives.
This survey was conducted in November 2018 to explore how bloggers work, their activities and views about their relationship with PR professionals and the future commercialisation of their work. To reach this group of bloggers an online survey was sent to a list of 7,500 bloggers from the Vuelio database. This resulted in 534 usable responses which represents a response rate of 7.12%. As the database largely represents those owning and managing their own blog, those who blog on behalf of organisations are under-represented and would be likely to have different views and behaviours than are represented here.