Consumer-made influence impressions reach 256B in 2009: Forrester

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Consumers created 256 billion influence impressions about products and services last year, according to Forrester Research's Peer Influence Analysis report, released April 20.

They wrote another 1.6 billion influence posts on product rating sites and blogs. The total number of consumer-generated product and service impressions reached more than 500 billion last year, according to Forrester, which used conservative estimates on how often consumers view the posts.

“Right now we understand that marketers invest a great deal in online advertising to create impressions,” said Augie Ray, the report's author and a senior analyst who specializes in social computing at Forrester. “There's some question as to how effective it is as a branding medium versus a direct response medium. We hope marketers will recognize the high number of impressions that can be and are generated within social media. In turn this can help to begin to guide budget decisions.”

He added that the report “doesn't exactly close the ROI loop, but it provides guidance for marketers who want to understand the scale of social media.”

Facebook commands a 62% share of influence impressions, according to Forrester. MySpace has an 18% share, while Twitter has a 10% share and LinkedIn gets 6%. The remaining 3% of influence impressions takes place on other social networks.

However, a relative few consumers (16%) generate the vast majority (80%) of impressions, according to the report.

The online survey, conducted in last year's fourth quarter, polled more than 10,000 consumers about their social media habits.

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