Ad spending on online social networks worldwide will nearly double, to $US2.2 billion in 2008 from $US1.2 billion this year, according to an eMarketer study, reported in Online Media Daily.
Most spending will happen in the United States where social network advertising is predicted to grow to $US1.6 billion next year, from $US920 million in 2007. Almost three quarters of the US ad spend will go to MySpace and Facebook.
That’s still a fraction of overall US online advertising, which eMarketer estimates will hit $21.4 billion this year.
The ad growth is thanks to the growing proportion of adults visiting social networking sites. eMarketer estimates that 37% of US adult internet users visited a social networking site at least once a month in 2007. By 2011, almost half of adult users and 84% of teens will be on social sites.
Turning big audiences into big dollars is a challenge for social networking sites and they have responded by giving advertisers search display and widget opportunities.
Provided they can overcome the privacy issues, behavioural ad platforms where the advertisers get the benefit of the huge amount of visitor information stored on the site is next.
The eMarketer study forecasts that global growth of social network ad spending will gradually slow to 16% by 2011, for a total of $US4.1 billion.