Welcome Bonnie Kintzer, our newest MediaBizBlogger.

Women influence us. This has always been true, at home, on the block, in the store and online. She has definite opinions and is close to the purse strings. She is loyal; she talks and she shares. And, 24/7, she has the ear of those near her. Yet, because of the new digital media mix and a whole lot of tools – the woman influencer looks totally different today than she did even five years ago.

When it comes to digital, we get that women are active in social networks, review sites and within the blogosphere. But, it is in fact thanks to these things that a woman's influence is taking off right now. She is using digital to expand her influence at a rapid pace. What's happening? One, the environment is more and more appropriate for it and two -- today's woman owns her role as influencer, more than ever.

How Does She See Herself?

A September 2011 survey by Fleishman-Hillard, Hearst and Ipsos Mendelsohn, shared by eMarketer, revealed that women feel it is their responsibility to help friends and family make wise purchase decisions. The study examined women's rising influence on purchasing. It was uncovered that in addition to playing this role within the family and peer circles, she also views it as her explicit responsibility. There is not only a penchant for women broadcasting their own consumer opinions and purchase decisions through social nets and other channels – but a sense of obligation for doing so.

"According to the survey, 54% of US female internet users said they feel a responsibility to help friends and family make wise purchase decisions, and nearly half said they influence friends and family to buy—or not buy—a product or service on a regular basis," said eMarketer. "When a similar study was conducted in September 2008, only 31% of women said they felt they regularly influenced other people's purchase decisions."

Positive feedback from friends rewards women for their behavior. When friends adopt a recommendation, the influencers feel validated, the study reported.

Her Booming Reach

The numbers in the survey also reveal the growth of the average woman's social reach – her friends and her online social circles, as well as the number of brands she follows – and so, effectively, her reach. According also to ComScore, social accounts for a remarkable slice of a woman's time; nearly 1 in 5 minutes online is spent on social networks. Three in four minutes on social networking sites are spent on Facebook – where women's friend lists are expanding like wildfire. Facebook is becoming the place for brands to connect with consumers rather than their website. Women, as the majority on Facebook, are driving these trends.

Looking at seven-year trends, also reported by GfK/MRI Spring, not only is channel usage up across most of the preferred media mix – largely in magazines, TV and Internet – hours spent per week by women on the Internet alone have more than doubled since last year – from 6.6 to 15.6.

Yes, the environment is increasingly inhabitable and hospitable across outlets, platforms, networks and the tools beloved by women everywhere – but we believe that this sense of personal responsibility by the woman influencer accounts for the intense rise in her market power. Women taking possession of the influencer role bodes well for women's lifestyle brands, certainly those who care to pay attention.

Bonnie Kintzer is Chief Executive Officer of Women’s Marketing Inc. the authority on how women consume media. Women’s Marketing Inc. services more than 300 clients in the beauty, fashion and health space by delivering the best integrated advertising solutions in digital, print and out-of-home. Bonnie has built a distinguished career in the media world with a strong focus on revenue creation and reengineering. Bonnie can be reached at bkintzer@womensmarketing.com.

Read all Bonnie's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at The W Factor.

Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.com
Follow our Twitter updates @MediaBizBlogger

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.