A behind-the-scenes look at L'Oréal's US social media strategy topped the list of Warc's most read news stories for 2011.

The piece, which pulled in more than twice the number of hits than the second-placed story, was based on comments from Marc Speichert, L'Oréal's US CMO, on how the company's view of the traditional "purchase funnel" was evolving.

He argued that the experience after purchase was becoming more important as consumers discussed products on social media platforms.

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"The path to purchase has changed enormously, becoming more multi-dimensional," said Speichert. "There is an extended evaluation phase in which customers consider what brands to purchase.

"Following that, they often enter into a relationship with that brand and share their experience online. The bottom line is that your customers wield power and control over your brand like never before."

The piece also looked at different initiatives L'Oréal was undertaking to adapt to the changing consumer and media environment.

Elsewhere, the topic of social media dominated the list of most read stories more broadly.

In second place was an item on the number of big brands now using social media as a marketing channel; third went to a piece on "social media fatigue"; and an item on the slowing uptake of social media in the US was fifth.

The one exception, in fourth, was a story about the role of email marketing in Europe, and even that had a social component.

The piece was based on a study of digital marketing habits; one of the key findings was that more brands used email than social in their marketing programmes.

For more details about the most popular material featured on Warc in 2011, click here.

Data sourced from Warc