More and more UK businesses are looking to social media marketing services than ever before. That's just one of the outcomes of research we've recently completed.
Using platforms such as Google Insights to draw data from as far back as 2004, the growth in interest for a range of social media services has never been greater.
A combined graph, using Google Insights to gather data ranging back to 2004, shows just how rapid the rise in interest became in 2011 - and has continued through 2012 to date.
Furthermore, the right hand side of the graph shows Google's forecast - and it predicts interest to continue long into 2013.
None of this would come as a surprise of course, but the graph does demonstrate the initial sceptisicm of many UK organisations. By mid-2009 the graph shows that an increasing number of companies began to realise they needed to investigate social media channels, but the surge in volume is most apparent in 2011.
Specific areas of interest
Each of the following related services has shown significant rises after a period of initial hesitancy and gradual rise:
Social media training
Social media marketing
Social media courses
Social media jobs
Social media strategy
Social media advertising
Social media agency
Interest by region
Deeper analysis of the increase in interest shows businesses in Wales marginally ahead of those in England in respect of both the volume of interest and an earlier date of investigating the medium as a marketing channel.
Scotland, by comparison, is noticeably lower in the level of interest shown with approximately 80% of the volume being shown in England and Wales.
Interest in Wales centred around Cardiff although the sheer number of organisations based in the nations capital points to an obvious explanation of this.
London based companies showed most interest in England, although it is closely followed by Cities in the Northwest (primarily Manchester), the Midlands (Birmingham) and then the numerous business hubs just outside of the M25 motorway area.
Taking interest levels overall, by far the biggest area of exploration has been for paid-for advertising opportunities. However, demand for strategic advice and foundation level understanding and education in the potential use of the major platforms hasn't been too far behind.
Within advertising searches the number of companies researching Facebook advertising is significant, with almost 9 times as many queries about its use as a channel for communicating with potential consumers as Twitter (even taking into consideration the late launch of Twitter advertising opportunities, it represents a major gap in interest).
An area we found particularly interesting (and you'll appreciate why) is that those organisations seeking to train or educate staff on the use of social media channels appeared to have a heavy London bias.
We'd have agreed with this as an overall trend up until mid-2011, but there is no doubt that the rest of the UK has shown just as much interest in the last 18 months (and having travelled as far as Portsmouth in the South and the Shetland Islands in the North, we think that can be said with some justification!).
More to come
We'll release more of our research over the coming weeks and months as and when we have time to fully assess them.