SOURCE: ITtoolbox

June 07, 2007 10:47 ET

IT Executives Cite Social Media as Most Trusted Source When Making Purchasing Decisions

ITtoolbox and PJA Advertising + Marketing Unveil Inaugural IT Social Media Index; Study Reveals IT Community's Usage and Trust in Blogs, Podcasts, Online Communities, Wikis, Profiles and Social Networking Tools for Business Purchasing Decisions

SCOTTSDALE, AZ and CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - June 7, 2007) - ITtoolbox, the leading online professional community for IT decision-makers and influencers, with more than one million registered members worldwide, and PJA Advertising + Marketing, 2006 BtoB Agency of the Year, today announced the results of their inaugural IT Social Media Index. This survey measured social media consumption trends among IT decision-makers and influencers, as well as how social media tools and user-generated content are being used to evaluate IT purchasing decisions. Among the survey's key findings is the trust IT executives place in social media content when making purchasing decisions. Full survey results are available via free download here.

When faced with purchasing decisions, there is no argument that today's IT decision-makers and influencers turn to the Internet for research, but instead of just turning to traditional vendor Web sites and editorial media Web sites, they are joining peer-driven communities and participating in user-generated content to help in the decision process. In addition to the purchaser, the advertisers themselves are seeking out these user-generated content sites to more strategically target the customer.

"This convergence of the purchaser and advertiser within the social media space is what compelled ITtoolbox and PJA to jointly commission this Index," said George Krautzel, ITtoolbox president and co-founder. "Using the IT community as an example, the findings reveal the role social media can play in today's business world and sheds light on new opportunities for advertisers."

"According to the findings, the IT community now spends as much or more time consuming social media as they do consuming editorial media or vendor content," said Mike O'Toole, EVP, Partner of PJA. "We've seen lots of research about social media usage, but this is the first study to link that usage to something tangible -- how IT executives are using social media and user-generated content to make better purchasing decisions."

In May 2007, the survey was distributed to more than 400,000 IT professionals around the world. More than 2,000 IT professionals responded, including C-level IT executives, business managers, IT analysts, and administrators and software developers. They answered a series of questions about their purchasing budgets and decision-making and were asked to evaluate and rank various user-generated content sites and social media tools in comparison to vendor Web sites, catalog and buyers guides, paid analyst research, trade magazine and editorial Web sites.

IT professionals who responded to the survey cited social media as the most trustworthy online source of information when making purchasing decisions. In addition:

--  Executive decision-makers spend nearly 3 1/2 hours per week consuming
    or participating in social media -- the highest usage profile of any
    IT audience.

--  Nearly two-thirds of IT professionals who were surveyed believe that
    social media content and user-generated tools have made for a more
    informed purchasing decision, and nearly three-quarters believe they
    have made their lives more efficient.

--  IT decision-makers and influencers trust user-generated content more
    than traditional content sources.

--  Overall, vendor Web sites, followed by user-generated content and
    editorial Web sites and trade magazines, are the most referenced
    information sources for IT purchasing information.

    --  Vendor Web sites are referenced often or very often by 61.5% of
        respondents.
    --  User-generated content is referenced often or very often by 42.6%
        of respondents.
    --  Editorial Web sites and trade magazines are referenced often or
        very often by 40.7% of respondents.
    --  Paid analyst research, catalogs and buyer's guides are referenced
        often or very often by only 24.75% of respondents, on average.

--  IT management and staff value the objective feedback on products and
    services from multiple sources they find in user-generated content far
    more than the ability to participate in conversations with peers.

--  The survey also discovered that IT audiences now spend as much or more
    time consuming or participating in social media as they do consuming
    editorial media or vendor content.
Other key findings of the survey include:
--  For executive decision-makers, the top-level strategic IT goal is to
    help enable innovation that drives competitive advantage. For other IT
    audiences, the top goal is to drive efficiency and lower costs.
    
--  Asian IT management and staff spend the most time consuming or
    participating in social media -- 4.45 hours per week.
    
--  More than half of survey respondents noted a modest to substantial
    increase in IT purchasing budgets for 2007.
    
ITtoolbox and PJA plan to repeat the survey twice yearly, eventually moving to quarterly surveys, in order to track ongoing trends and usage patterns among this critical audience.

About ITtoolbox

ITtoolbox is an online community, enabling peers to share professional knowledge about information technology. Since 1998, ITtoolbox has helped professionals make IT decisions and stay current in the rapidly changing technology market through peer collaboration. The ITtoolbox platform incorporates a professional network, blogs, discussion groups and a wiki, facilitating targeted community interaction in which IT advertisers can participate through a proprietary contextual matching system. This combination of community and advertising value has made ITtoolbox a leading destination for professionals and a leader in online advertising, performing for more than 780 clients, including Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Dell and HP. For more information visit www.ITtoolbox.com.

About PJA Advertising + Marketing

PJA is proud to be named 2006 Agency of the Year and 2007 Agency of the Year Runner-Up by BtoB Magazine. PJA is a $50 million advertising and marketing agency with offices in Cambridge, Mass. and San Francisco, Calif. PJA serves a global roster of technology, life science and healthcare clients that includes: Novell, Boston Scientific, Akamai, Gene Logic, TriZetto, and Invitrogen. For more information, visit agencypja.com.

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