Blog marketing increasingly influences consumers' purchase decisions, with a new report from Cone suggesting Americans are 50 percent more likely to read blogs and articles for product research this year compared to 2010.

Blog marketing increasingly influences consumers' purchase decisions, with a new report from Cone suggesting Americans are 50 percent more likely to read blogs and articles for product research this year compared to 2010.

The 2011 Online Influence Trend Tracker reveals the rapid rise of online content consumption. Last year, 28 percent of consumers looked to articles and blogs for product recommendations. However, the number of Americans influenced by online content has jumped to 42 percent in 2011. Moreover, Cone asserts that prospects will turn to blogs and articles more often in the future.

Sixty percent of consumers indicated that the most trustworthy content comes from sources considered credible experts in the space. With this in mind, businesses should use consistent content marketing strategies and work with reliable content writers to position their brands as industry authorities.

Brafton has reported that online content marketing is now a $12.5 billion industry, with marketers increasingly investing in this strategy. The Online Trend Tracker report seems to support investment in digital content. “The increasing impact of online content on buying decisions cannot be ignored,” said Bill Fleishman, president of Cone.

Content marketing is growing even more influential because consumers can access the web from anywhere, thanks to smartphones. Nearly two-thirds of respondents (59 percent) said they researched products through the mobile web.

As Brafton reported, smartphone penetration has skyrocketed over the past year. As many as 82.2 million Americans own these internet-enabled mobile devices, accounting for more than one-third of the total mobile subscriber base. Additionally, nearly half of smartphone owners (41.1 percent) use their handsets to browse the web.