The economic downturn meant that "recession" enjoyed a predictable position as the top search term on WARC Online among media and market research agencies in 2008, though it was noticeably absent from the list of prime concerns among creatives.

Rather, and possibly encouraging a few traditional adland prejudices, WARC's creative agency subscribers were most interested in social networks and online/brand communities, which contributed four of the top ten searches by this group in all.

Indeed, web-based terms were the dominant area of search activity among creatives, with online video, banner advertising, MySpace and Cadbury's "Gorilla" campaign all receiving a large number of hits.

Media and market research agencies shared considerably more in common, with sponsorship, marketing luxury brands, and word-of-mouth all coming in the top five for both groups.

In terms of brands, media agencies had the highest number of specific searches, with prominent players including Vodafone, Nike, O2, Tesco and Dove.

Motorola, Royal Mail and Audi were most popular brands among market researchers, and Toyota was the top brand with creatives.

In spite of its troubles (or perhaps because of them), the automotive category was also a popular area of search activity among each of the subscriber groups.

More unexpected was a high level of interest among market researchers in Saudi Arabia, as well as, more predictably, in the emerging economic powerhouses of India and China.

Data sourced from World Advertising Research Center (