According to comScore research, the total number of ad impressions on all social sites put together accounts for 21.1% of the total online ad displays in the U.S.
The most popular social sites, MySpace and Facebook, together received the vast majority of ad impressions. Individually, MySpace received 9.2% and Facebook received 8.2% of all online ad impressions.
Less popular sites like Tagged.com, Hi5, Bebo, Classmates.com and many others account for the remaining 3.7% of all online ad impressions. Each of them receives about 0.1% of the total, with the exception of Tagged.com which has 0.6% and MocoSpace.com which has 0.2%.
The popularity of social networks has increased rapidly in the last few years, so it is quite natural that advertisers would try and make use of this medium to reach the maximum possible target audience. Another motivating factor for using the social networks is the high reach and frequency of usage among target segments against low costs .
Jeff Hackett, Senior VP at comScore, says, “Social media is becoming an increasingly attractive vehicle for major advertisers seeking to optimise campaign reach and frequency, and small advertisers desiring to reach a highly targeted audience.”
One should, however, note the fact that although the number of ad impressions on social sites is over 20%, the actual number of clicks and conversions received from social networks could be significantly lower. If that is the case, social networks are no more than excellent branding channels.