Ad Spending on Social Networks: $2 Billion by 2010?

Social networks are all the rage, but there have been precious few indicators of marketers’ involvement with them. A recent eMarketer report helps to change that, predicting advertising spending on them will increase to $2 billion in four years time.

That figure includes an upward revision of the spending estimate for the current year, report author Debra Aho Williamson told me. “Four months ago I had predicted that my U.S. 2006 figure was $280 million for social online ad spending,” she said. “But the new figure is $350 million in U.S. social network ad spending. My impression is that the growth has become much more accelerated in the past few months.”

She told me a “keeping up with the Joneses” kind of effect is taking off, where companies are going to have to meet their competitors on social networks and compete for the viral buzz, if they can figure it out. She also said international expansion is going to drive a lot of the buzz around sites like Myspace, Bibo, and Piczo.

I touched base with some media buyers and found the $2 billion number didn’t surprise them, but there’s still a lot of “tires that need to be kicked.”

“Can it grow that large? Sure, cause the money is there. Advertisers know that if something works it’ll be funded,” says Richard Katz, director business development at Did-It. “If this is actually going to provide the scale, then it’s going to happen. The challenge is to get legitimate clean page views.”

My questions to you are these: What’s been your experience buying media from social networks? What’s your plan going forward? Your answers will help craft ClickZ’s future coverage. Send me a note here.

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