eMarketer cuts social-network ad spending estimates

Surprise! The recession means that advertisers will likely cut back on "experimental" forms of media, like social networks.

Caroline McCarthy Former Staff writer, CNET News
Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.
Caroline McCarthy

Market research firm eMarketer has cut yet another ad spending estimate for 2009, and this time it's social networks. The social-network advertising industry is now pegged at $1.3 billion next year, down from $1.8 billion. For 2008, it's been lowered to $1.2 billion from $1.4 billion.

That's a big drop. Looking at individual social networks, eMarketer has cut its estimates for MySpace from $755 million to $585 million this year, and from $265 million to $210 million for Facebook.

"As consumer usage of social networking sites continues to flourish, advertising has not kept pace," a release from eMarketer explained. "In 2008 and 2009, the recession will affect all forms of online ad spending, but experimental formats, such as the ones available on social networks, which cannot always demonstrate a proven return on investment, will be hit particularly hard."

eMarketer has already cut its ad spending estimates for the overall Web multiple times this year.

But marketers shouldn't write off social networks entirely, the report said. "Monitoring social network discussions about a brand or product and interacting with consumers in a community are still valuable--and probably essential--activities."