The way marketers see it, good buzz makes a product sell. While some marketers have long used  old-fashioned word of mouth to spread buzz about their products others are  checking out the social media sponsorship angle. According to PQ Media, this sector of social media grew 13.9% in 2009 and reached a spending level of $46 million. And PQ Media analysts are looking for this category to continue growing as marketers follow consumers into the online world.

But what constitutes social media sponsorship? Cash or other rewards like trips and products which are given to content creators who review products and services online. Often the reviewers include images and may frequently update their information. Patrick Quinn, CEO of PQ Media says, “We believe this sector will be among the fastest-growing alternative media in the near future because of the growth of social media.”

The most important findings from PQ Media’s recent release on this topic include:

  • Paid and non-paid social media sponsorships will grow 23.6% in 2010.
  • Paid and non-paid social media sponsorships account for 2.7% of all word-of-mouth marketing.
  • The fastest growing sector of online sponsored media is cash – worth $10.3 million in 2009. This activity is often farmed out to sponsored conversation firms.

The Federal Trade Commission has ruled that marketers and others must disclose when they are being paid to provide editorial coverage. Many feared this ruling would have a negative effect on this industry but that has not happened. Instead, marketers in specific industries such as “CPGs, food & beverage, health & beauty, and media & entertainment” continue to be large spenders in this arena. And analysts believe the need to reach young female ‘influentials’ will drive more marketers to spend marketing dollars on social media sponsorship in 2010.

[Source: PQ Media’s First-Ever Social Media Sponsorships. PQMedia. 11 May 2010. Web. 17 May 2010]