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Is social media causing peer advice fatigue?

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The answer to the question is probably no, but there have been some signs that I have seen lately that point to the fact that users are more than ever looking for sourced content when researching buying decisions. Among technology buyers, when asked the question what is your main source of information for knowledge in making decisions, almost every study that I have seen over the last ten years has had peers as the number one source.

Recently, IDG published a study where third-party technology sites were seen as the number one source and vendor content sites were in the top five. Not that peers dropped off the list—it ranked number two—but it makes you wonder if buyers are starting to understand that these content providers can help them make sense of the variety of sources and opinions that they may encounter.

The second thing that strikes me as somewhat of a watershed moment, is Google's acquisition of Frommer's last week. Google famously has stated that they are not content creators, and also allow for users' opinions to drive search results prominence. However, acquiring an established content developer—the acknowledged expert in the space—is more than just an ad play, but a way to make branded content part of their business strategy.

So two examples aren't necessarily the be all end all but continues to stress the fact that developing and aligning with content that is relevant for buyers, which allows them to make informed purchasing decisions, is an important part of the marketing mix.

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