Research is to be conducted into the fields of online PR and social media by advice and insight provider Econsultancy, in order to ascertain the value put on investment in the sector by companies.

It is intended to look at strategies, resourcing, budgets and barriers to success experienced by businesses, as well as considering the use of Twitter in online trading.

Econsultancy’s research director Linus Gregoriadis noted that the amount of interest surrounding the topic of social media currently held by conglomerates was justified as the sector provides excellent opportunities for them to profit.

"We believe that this research will be extremely useful for digital marketers and PR professionals who want to benchmark their organisations," he said, adding that it would also help them understand the relevance of social media to their brands.

Earlier this month, Jeff Hackett, senior vice-president at comScore, remarked that social networking forums are being used increasingly by internet marketing services as a way to target consumers, with one in five online display ads featuring on pages such as Facebook.

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