Worldwide social media revenue is on track to reach $10.3 billion this year, a 41.4 per cent increase from 2010 revenue of $7.3 billion, according to a study by Gartner.
Worldwide social media revenue is forecast for consistent growth with 2012 revenue totalling $14.9 billion, and the market is projected to reach $29.1 billion in 2015.
Social media advertising revenue is forecast to total $5.5 billion this year, and grow to $8.2 billion in 2012. Advertising revenue includes display advertising and digital video commercials on any device including PCs, mobile and media tablets.
Social gaming revenue is on pace to reach $3.2 billion this year and grow to $4.5 billion in 2012. Social gaming includes revenue that social networking sites earn directly from users who play games that are developed in-house, and the revenue earned by allowing game developers/publishers to use their sites as a platform to let users play with friends on the network.
It includes revenue earned from 'virtual wallets' within games — such as when users spend virtual money on in-game items like swords or tanks, or to create virtual armies. Social media subscription revenue is forecast to reach $236 million this year and total $313 million in 2012. Few social sites charge subscription revenue, mostly for premium services.
Some professional sites like LinkedIn, Xing in Germany and Vladeo in France, charge a subscription fee from their users for enhanced services, like an expanded profile view.