It's a good year to be a social networking site.
According to research from Gartner Inc., global social media revenue is expected to hit $US10.3 billion by the end of this year. That's an increase of 41.4 per cent from $US7.3 billion in revenue in 2010.
And Gartner analysts predict that social media will stay on an upward trend, hitting an expected $US14.9 billion revenue in 2012 and $US29.1 billion in 2015.
That's noteworthy given the news from a different report that came out today, which pointed out that corporate executives are largely unprepared to take on social media.
According to the study from IBM, 82 per cent of chief marketing officers said they plan to boost their enterprise use of social media during the next three to five years -- but more than 50% also said they're unprepared to handle it.
Despite companies' slow adoption pace, social media is making more money. And it's advertising that is pushing social media's overall revenue up.
According to Gartner, social media advertising, which is expected to total $US5.5 billion in 2011 and grow to $US8.2 billion in 2012, accounts for the largest portion of social media's overall revenue.
Neha Gupta, a senior research analyst at Gartner, said in a written statement that enterprise marketers will begin to allocate a bigger share of their advertising budget to social networking sites.
"This is mainly because social networking sites, with the help of social analytics firms, are able to unlock the interconnected data structures of users -- mapping lists of friends, their comments and messages, photos and all their social connections, contact information and associated media," Gupta said.
And when it comes to bringing in money, gaming revenue comes in second to advertising.
Gartner reported that social gaming revenue is expected to reach $US3.2 billion in 2011 and grow to $US4.5 billion in 2012.
"From a revenue perspective, the social media market is still in its early stages, even though it has a large number of users who, in some cases, are exhibiting increasingly mature usage patterns," said Gupta. "Market participants need to build new business models to tap into this increased usage and users' increased level of engagement."
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