Social Media is Now a $17 Billion Business

Global revenue from social media could hit up to $17 billion this year, according to new research from Gartner.

That would mark a growth rate of more than 43% over last year.

Advertising will represent over half of that revenue, contributing nearly $9 billion in 2012, the report reveals.

Meanwhile, social gaming revenue will account for about 37%, or $6.2 billion. Subscriptions will make up roughly 5% with $300 million.

EMarketer offers similar numbers, predicting close to $8 billion in social media ad revenues in 2012 and $12 billon by 2014. The Interactive Advertising Bureau estimates that global ad revenues for internet advertising were $31 billion in 2011, which would suggest that social media ads account for 25% to 30% of all internet advertising revenue.

Social media remains a relatively new but rapidly spreading phenomenon, with social networks like Facebook not taking off until around 2007 and Twitter until around 2009. Now 100,000 tweets are sent every single minute and and 12,000 bits of content are shared on Facebook per second.