eMarketer: Social networking ad spending & usage

So I stumbled on eMarketer for the first time in a while (been a little busy) and saw a synopsis of a report that they put together on the ad spending & usage habits for social media networking sites.

Social Networking ad spend & usage - eMarketer

As you can see from the graph above, ad spending on social networking sites have increase tremendously over the past couple of years and are forecasted to continue to rise through 2011. According to eMarketer, social networking is “an activity that 37% of US adult Internet users and 70% of online teens engage in every month, and the numbers continue to grow.”

eMarketer projects that by 2011, one-half of online adults and 84% of online teens in the US will use social networking.

Are we truly surprised? More people are projected to be on a social networking site? Well I figured that would happen. Why wouldn’t advertisers target their money towards social networking sites and utilize systems like Facebook Beacon (once it’s been tweaked and everyone stops getting pissed at how it’s run), or on Google or other ad serving methods? I’m guessing that people are still thinking of the traditional online advertising medias, like banner advertisements on newspaper sites, Google Ads, but aren’t really utilizing social networking sites to its true extent. Maybe I’m completely wrong.

Frankly, the one thing that is surprising to me is the amount that is being spent. Let’s face it, I’m not a market research genius or rather it’s not my specialty so when eMarketer tells me that $4 billion is being spent on social networking advertising in 2011, then I’ll believe it, but don’t tell me that more people will be on social network sites, unless there’s a number (which there is).

Of course there’s more to the story, but I don’t have $700 to spend on the report. Anyone got any change they can spare?