SOURCE: ITtoolbox

December 17, 2007 10:01 ET

Study Reveals IT Executives and Decision-Makers Rely on Social Media Information Sources Throughout the Purchasing Process

ITtoolbox and PJA Advertising + Marketing Unveil Findings From Wave II of the IT Social Media Index; Topic-Based Networks and Personal Networks Rank as the Most Important Social Media Sources in the Consideration and Final Evaluation Stages of Purchase

SCOTTSDALE, AZ and CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - December 17, 2007) - ITtoolbox, the leading online professional community for IT decision-makers and influencers, and PJA Advertising + Marketing, 2006 BtoB Agency of the Year, today announced the results of Wave II of the IT Social Media Index.

Among the notable trends identified, IT decision-makers and influencers rely on topic-based networks and personal networks during the consideration and final evaluation stages when utilizing social media for technology purchasing decisions. In addition, social media consumption by IT executives has increased since the first wave of this survey in June 2007. These executives report that they use social media information sources -- including topic-based communities, blogs, and discussion groups, mash-ups, and others -- more than 3.7 hours per week. The full survey results are available at

As identified in Wave I of this survey, IT decision-makers and influencers place significant trust in user-generated content as an information source when researching purchasing decisions. In this current wave, ITtoolbox and PJA Advertising + Marketing worked together to take a closer look at the influence of social media tools on distinct stages of the purchasing process and to assess the credibility of online communities as an extension of personal networks.

"Professionals have increasingly adopted online communities as part of their daily workflow," commented George Krautzel, president and co-founder of ITtoolbox. "By having access to peers in topic-based communities or their personal connections, professionals are able to draw upon experience-based best practice information and make more informed decisions. As communities of practice continue to evolve, we expect this value to only strengthen."

"The second wave of the survey confirms that social media is playing an increasingly critical role in influencing technology adoption," said Mike O'Toole, EVP and Partner at PJA. "Particularly as they reach the final stages of the purchase process, IT decision-makers rely on social media content -- generated by their peers in online communities -- more than any other source of information."

In November 2007, the survey was distributed globally to more than 400,000 members of the ITtoolbox community. More than 4,400 IT and business professionals responded, including C-level IT executives, business managers, IT analysts, administrators and software developers. They answered a series of questions about social media consumption and the tools they considered important at various levels in the technology decision-making process.

Key findings from the survey indicate that IT decision-makers and influencers are spending more time with and are increasingly considering online communities as extensions of their existing network of personal contacts. Findings indicate that:

--  IT decision-makers and influencers spend more time consuming social
    media than they do consuming traditional online editorial media or vendor
--  Executive decision-makers spend nearly 4 hours per week on consuming
    and participating in social media -- an increase from wave one. This group
    still maintains the highest usage profile among all IT audiences.
--  IT decision-makers and influencers consider online networks as a
    trusted extension of their personal networks: More than half of the survey
    respondents consider it valuable to reach out to peers beyond their
    personal networks; discussion groups, peer-to-peer networks and social
    networks are the most popular social media tools in terms of usage.

IT professionals rely on different types of social media tools at distinct stages of the technology purchase process. The survey indicates that:

--  Search is the most important activity during the early stages of the
    technology purchase process.
--  Topic-based networks and personal networks are the most important
    sources of information in the consideration and final evaluation stages of
--  Unlike the other groups, IT decision-makers rated topic-based
    communities as the most important source of information through all stages
    of the technology purchase process.

Full survey results are available via download

ITtoolbox and PJA plan to repeat the survey twice yearly, eventually moving to quarterly surveys, 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 800 clients, including Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, Dell and HP. ITtoolbox is a division of the Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ: EXBD). For more information visit

About PJA

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

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