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Social Network Ad Spend Doesn't Match Hype, Forecast Lowered


The look of a lie

eMarketer has lowered its projections for US social network ad spend. It now estimates advertisers will spend $1.4 billion to place ads on social networks in 2008 — down from its last projection of $1.6 billion, MarketingCharts writes.

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That's 5.5 percent of total projected US online ad spending in 2008, according to eMarketer.

eMarketer also says social network ad spend will reach $2.6 billion in 2012 — down from its December '07 estimate of $2.7 billion in 2011, when (it now estimates) spending will total less than $2.4 billion.

eMarketer's revisions include the two largest social networks, MySpace and Facebook:

  • Previously, eMarketer predicted that MySpace would bring in $850 million in the US; it has dropped its estimate 11.2 percent,to $755 million.
  • At Facebook, advertisers will spend $265 million this year - a 12.9 percent drop from the earlier forecast of $305 million.

The poor economy is partly responsible for the revised estimates. Moreover, "social network sites are still trying to figure out what sort of advertising works," said Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst, who authors social networking reports.

"Tapping into consumers' conversations and spreading brand awareness virally has proven more challenging than companies originally thought."

Among other eMarketer projections:

  • US social network ad spend will increase 55 percent in 2008, down from the 163 percent growth rate the previous year - but that's still more than double the 23 percent rate projected for all online ad spending growth in the US.
  • MySpace will account for 53 percent of total US online social network ad spending in 2008.
  • Facebook will account for 19 percent of total US online social network ad spend in '08.
  • All other social networks combined will account for 26 percent - or $370 million - of total US online social network ad spend in '08.
  • Widget and other application spending will total $40 million, or 3 percent of the pie, in '08

eMarketer also revised its worldwide social network ad spending projections, saying ad spend on social networks would total $2 billion worldwide in 2008, reaching $3.8 billion in 2011 rather than the previous forecast of $4.1 billion.

About the data: "eMarketer's figures take into account all forms of advertising within social networks, including display, search and video ads, as well as any fees that marketers pay to social networks to develop profile pages or conduct promotions. For the first time, the new numbers also include widget and application ad spending. While widgets and applications can also appear on blogs and personal start pages, the majority of development has been for social network environments," according to eMarketer.

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