Adspend on social networks set to rise 77%

Adspend on social networking sites, such as Bebo and Facebook, is expected to rise 77% from £65m to £115m this year as the activity continues to grow in popularity in the UK.

In 2012, marketers are projected to spend £285m, a 148% increase over 2008, according to the research by eMarketer.

An estimated 11m or about 30% of UK internet users participated in online social networking last year.

The UK accounts for 68% of social networking adspend in Western Europe.

The social networking ad market still trails the US by one to two years but eMarketer expects that the UK market will enjoy slightly greater gains in social network adspend, percentage wise, than the US.

However, social sites represent a tiny portion of UK online adspend at just 3.4% in 2008.

Social networking adspend has moved at a slower pace than consumer adoption but with the growth of Facebook and the acquisition of Bebo by AOL, eMarketer said that things are picking up.

Debra Aho Williamson, senior analyst specialising in social networking and author of the report, said: "Though social network advertising is forecast to grow aggressively this year, it will only do so if social network operators can develop substantial metrics showing the value and performance of the advertising."

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