Facebook, Starbucks, Apple and Nike were the brands which attracted the greatest number of searches on warc.com in 2010.

An assessment of popular searches conducted over the last year shows digital channels are becoming an increasingly important part of the communications landscape.

"Social media" was by some distance the top entry, reflecting the hunger for insights and case studies showing how sites like Twitter can effectively be used as marketing tools.

The next two most frequently-used terms concerned "sponsorship" and "product placement".

Both of these areas have seen growing investment in many markets around the world. In the UK, media regulator Ofcom has also recently relaxed existing product placement rules.

Facebook, which this year announced it had more than 500m users, appeared in fifth.

Starbucks was the next highest-ranking brand in the top ten, with Apple and Nike also in the list.

Tesco, Dove and Ikea sat just outside this group. Curiously, cider was the leading product category, ahead of luxury.

Data sourced from Warc