Brand owners from the US dominated the list of the most searched-for companies on Warc in 2012, with restaurant chain McDonald's retaining the top spot it held last year.

Coffee house giant Starbuck's came second in the rankings, while Apple, the tech firm, claimed third. (For more details about the most popular material featured on Warc in 2012, click here.)

Elsewhere, Coca-Cola, the beverage specialist, was fourth, while Facebook, the world's largest social network, was fifth, although this represented a decline of two places from 2011, perhaps reflecting greater confidence among marketers using this channel.

Tesco, the UK-based supermarket chain, was the top non-US operator in sixth place, down by three spots on an annual basis, ahead of Swedish furniture and home products retailer IKEA, retaining seventh.

Rounding out the ten leading players were Dove, Unilever's beauty brand, Nike, the sportswear manufacturer, and BMW, the automaker.

More broadly, misleading advertising was the most searched-for general term by Warc's clients this year, attracting over three times the number of enquiries recorded by any other entry.

This topic headed a list that contained a wide variety of phrases, including media channels, marketing tactics and product categories.

"Voluntary sector" delivered the highest number of searches for an individual category or industry. Social media was the top marketing channel, in third on the general list.

Rounding out the top five were two further media-based terms: trade magazines and "commercial break". A similar term, "advertising break", came ninth.

The rest of the top ten most-popular search terms included three product categories – water, life insurance and luxury, in sixth, seventh and eighth spots respectively. Euromonitor, one of Warc's content partners, finished in tenth.

Data sourced from Warc