Spending behind word-of-mouth advertising rose 14.2% in 2008.  Food and drink brands were the biggest spenders, accounting for 30% of all w-o-m spending.  Word-of-mouth advertising includes buzz, influencers, community and viral marketing.

PQ Media forecasts that w-o-m spending will increase by another 10.2% this year, even with the recession taking place.  PQ Media also believes that total spending is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 14.5% between 2008 and 2013.

Most of the w-o-m spend was spent researching consumers via online communities like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.  These channels saw a growth of 26.6%, bringing the marketing dollars to $119 million.  By far the most money with $832 million, was dedicated to w-o-m strategy and consulting.  Agencies that specialize in w-o-m grew 18.7% to $197 million.

Getting w-o-m right is tricky, it can either make or break a brand or a campaign launch.  It is not surprising to see that w-o-m consulting agencies have grown as many traditional advertising agencies haven’t had the time or resources to put together an in-depth study on their online, social networking target audience.

For more information on this study, go to: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20090729005726&newsLang=en

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