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With most teens and nearly 40% of adults visiting social-networking sites, advertisers are avidly experimenting on Facebook, MySpace and niche online social networks, according to a new eMarketer report.

In 2008, US advertisers are expected to spend nearly $1.6 billion – up 69% from the $920 million they will have spent in 2007, according to the report, “Social Network Marketing: Ad Spending and Usage.”

Within four year, US ad spend on social-networking sites is expected to reach $2.7 billion:

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Social networking may get more than its fair share of media attention, but it is not a fad, said Debra Aho Williamson, author of the report.

The Population of  Social Networkers

“In 2007, 37% of the US adult internet population and 70% of teens used online social networking at least once a month,” Williamson said.

That’s about 56.9 million adults [age 18+] and 13.6 million teens [age 12-17].

eMarketer predicts that in 2011 the total US adult social-networking audience will grow to more than 85 million, or 49% of the US adult internet population.

The greatest growth until then is expected to come in 2008, when 12 million more US adults will become social-network users – for a total of 69.0 million users (43.5% of the US adult internet population), according to the forecast.

In addition, by 2011 some 84% of online teens in the US – some 17.7 million of them – will also be using social networking on at least a monthly basis, eMarketer forecasts.

Again, the greatest growth in that period is expected to be in 2008, with 1.7 million additional teens – a total of 15.3 million, or 77% of US online teens – using social networking.

Ad Revenues Worldwide

Worldwide ad spending on online social networks will increase from more than $1.2 billion in 2007 to more than $2.1 billion in 2008 – or a growth of 75% – eMarketer projects.

Globally, social-network ad spending is expected to surpass $4 billion in 2011, including $1.6 billion in spending in the US.

Social-network advertising revenues worldwide are expected to grow to nearly $2.9 billion in 2009 and nearly $3.6 billion in 2010.

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