By Pat Speer The idea of social networks used for commerce is gaining headwind, and in the next two years may become more powerful than corporate Web sites and customer relationship management software, according to Forrester. This means the spend by insurers and other financial services organizations on social media in the U.S. will contribute to an increase from $716 million this year to more than $3.1 billion in 2014, a 34% compound annual growth rate, according to a Forrester forecast report. The report, released last week at the Forrester Research Marketing Forum in Orlando, notes that social media spending will grow faster than spending on other interactive marketing channels, which will grow at a 17% CAGR. “For consumer-facing companies, that means tapping into consumers’ increasing expectation that they will participate with your brand. For b-to-b firms, it means leveraging the power of innovative customers who are increasingly engaging with their peers to solve their problems,” Christine Overby, Forrester Research VP-research director, said in a statement. Jeremiah Owyang, author of the report, says that although the current social networking experience is disjointed because consumers have different identities on each site they visit, technology will solve this dilemma with uniform IDs. Owyang maintains uniform IDs are on the horizon, thanks to technologies such as OpenID, and the technology will help transform marketing, e-commerce, CRM and advertising. State Farm seems to understand the social commerce future. Us Weekly confirms having sold sponsorship of its Facebook page news tab to the Bloomington, Ill., insurer. And, as reported on Biz Report’s Web site, according to Steven Schwartz, chief digital officer at Us Weekly's parent, Wenner Media, this is not necessarily a one-off deal. "We do anticipate that this becomes another tool in our tool chest, among meaningful ways to let brands reach our audience in a very credible, differentiated environment," he told Biz Report. This article can also be found on InsuranceNetworking.com.

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