Report: Social Media Revenue Expected to Reach $16.9 Billion in 2012, Mostly from Advertising
Gartner analysts said that social media sites will continue to incorporate gaming techniques on their networks, driven by the monetization opportunities that it presents. The sale of virtual goods will remain the primary source of revenue. Major console gaming publishers have recently entered the social gaming arena and are adding momentum to the social gaming industry by utilizing their intellectual properties. Gartner expects this trend to have a favorable impact on social gaming revenue as consumers are likely to be attracted to familiar gaming titles. Some of the big social developers such as Zynga, GREE and DeNA have moved to an open-platform strategy, enhancing user convenience and choice.
The growth in users paying for professional networking accounts will continue to grow. However, social sites are moving toward lower subscription fees and shifting focus to other sources of revenue, such as advertisement-based sales. This is corroborated by the fact that many of the professional sites (including LinkedIn and Xing) that charge for premium services observed a decline in the subscriptions revenue ratio. Apart from a few exceptions, Gartner continues to see limited success with the premium subscription models.
The sale of virtual goods outside of social gaming is the largest revenue earner in the "other" category. The trend to sell high-value advisory services — such as public relations and reputation management) to brands so that they can better manage their presence on social networks is on the rise and is expected to continue. Payments on social media sites will increase, providing increased revenue opportunities to social media sites to serve as a payment platform for transactions of digital content (to pay for applications, such as part of Facebook), as part of social gaming (for example, FarmVille), or to make a person-to-person (P2P) payment to another user of the network site. New revenue opportunities for social media will also arise as both mobile and TV platforms integrate with social networking as a core service.