Report: Paid Social Media Conversations Will Increase

As social media continues to become a more influential part of the marketing mix, it’s no surprise that brands will increasingly find ways to compensate bloggers — or anyone with an online following relevant to their brand — to talk about their products.

Although new guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have put brands on alert, paid conversations will continue to grow.

A new report from PQ Media says the total value of social media sponsorships will increase 23.6% in 2010 to $56.8 million. These kind of sponsorships grew to $46 million in 2009, a 14 percent increase from 2008, the report also said.

Here’s how PQ Media defines the space: “a digital word-of-mouth marketing segment in which brands provide material compensation, such as cash, products, points or trips, to social media content creators to promote and/or review their products and services through long-form text or status updates, often with accompanying visuals.”

Brands offering cash for coverage is still a small part of the mix. It accounted for 22.4% of total spending in 2009, or $10.3 million.