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Social media revenue to reach $16.9bn

Gartner says global social media market to grow 43.1% this year

Social media revenue to reach $16.9bn
Social media revenues will grow by 43% from 2011 to 2012, says Gartner.

Revenue from social media is set to hit $16.9 billion this year, according to Gartner, up 43.1% from last year's global market total of $11.8 billion.

Advertising will continue to more than half of all revenue, a total of $8.8 billion in 2012, while social gaming revenue will reach $6.2 billion, while subscription revenue will be $278 million.

"Usage of online social media has matured, and more than one billion people worldwide will use social networks this year," said Neha Gupta, senior research analyst at Gartner. "Although the number of social media users is large, and in some cases increasingly mature in their usage patterns, the market is still in its early stages from a revenue perspective."

Gartner says that there will be moderate growth in users of social media sites, although new services and new forms of entertainment will help retain interest from existing users.

Growth areas for social revenue will be in social gaming, through the sale of virtual goods, while paid-for professional networking sites will see some increase in subscription revenues, but more efforts to monetize switching to other sources of revenue, such as advertisement-based sales.

Other sources of social media-related revenue will come from avenues such as sale of virtual goods outside of social gaming; high-value advisory services in areas like public relations and reputation management for companies to manage reputations online; payment platform services and mobile and TV integration with social networking.

"New revenue opportunities will exist in social media, but no new services will be able to bring significant fresh revenue to social media by 2016," said Gupta. "The biggest impact of growth in social media is on the advertisers. In the short and medium terms, social media sites should deploy data analytic techniques that interrogate social networks to give marketers a more accurate picture of trends about consumers' needs and preferences on a customized basis. In the meantime, however, they should also continue to exploit other channels of revenue like mobile advertising and social commerce."

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