Warning over social networking advertising

Brands are channelling ad spend into social networks without any means of measuring return on investment, according to a major new report published today.

The report, JupiterResearch’s Social Marketing in Europe: Creating and Measuring User Engagement, found that a third of online advertisers in Europe plan to use profiles on social networks to engage customers. However, its revealed that less than a quarter of those using such tactics plan to measure their effectiveness.

The rise of social networks including Bebo, Facebook, Hi5 and MySpace has offered brands a new way to reach online audiences, and for the audience to engage with them.

The survey found that more than 50% of online advertisers in Europe have run advertising campaigns that encourage user interaction and two thirds will do so in the next 12 months.

Viral marketing campaigns are the most common form of engaging an online audience but profiles on social networking sites and interactive websites are growing fastest, according to the report.

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