Social Networking and Word-of-Mouth Advertising
A study from Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions and MetrixLab revealed that 64% of social networkers trust information from "friends" and will visit other sites after learning of them from a friendly site. The study also shows that 43% of users have visited a brand's social page on sites MySpace, Bebo, Friendster and others.
The study also indicates that more than 70% of Americans ages 15-34 are actively participating in social networking sites. Just as social networking sites have provided a new way for friends to gather and meet, advertising on these networks provides a new dimension of word-of-mouth marketing. And as every advertiser knows, word-of-mouth recommendations are worth their weight in gold.
If you visited a friends page on a social network and saw an ad endorsed by that friend, chances are you would be more likely to click and explore that advertiser. Advertisers could start offering ads to individual users and their pages, or groups that are highly targeted and could even include a personal recommendation from your "friend." Imagine an entire advertsing network based on social networking friends and their recommendations - a big benefit to the advertiser and perhaps a revenue share with users?
Social networking advertising spend is expected to reach $865 million in 2007. MySpace will account for $525 million, with Bebo, Facebook and Friendster splitting another $200 million.