Facebook is helping to drive more and more people onto social networks around the globe, just as predicted by Mark Zuckerberg when he said the world would become more social.
Some 1.43 billion people will be actively using social media this year, a near 20 per cent rise from 2011, according to research from eMarketer.
"The strength of social networking as a worldwide online activity cannot be understated," says Debra Aho Willamson, principal analyst and author of the new report, Worldwide Social Network Usage: Market Size and Growth Forecast.
It shows 63.2 per cent of internet users will visit a social network at least once a month, rising to 67.6 per cent in 2013 and going above 70 per cent in 2014. "At those user rates, one out of every five people in the world will use a social network this year, and one in every four will do so in 2014," the report concludes.
Mobile devices are becoming increasingly important to marketers trying to engage with social media users. An increasing number of Facebook and Twitter users now access these sites from smartphones and tablets, making mobile ads a growing part of the social marketing mix.
Separate research from eMarketer shows mobile ad spending will grow in the UK this year, buoyed by major sporting events in the summer. Both the London Olympics and the Uefa Euro 2012 football championships are expected to drive spending.
The firm forecasts mobile ad spending in the UK will grow 63.7 per cent to just over £200 in 2012. Mobile video is also growing fast, but problems remain, say the researchers.
Slow load times are a major issue, with 50 per cent of respondents in the UK disappointed with mobile load times and buffering.
"Advertisers considering mobile should take this as a note to keep their ads short and sweet; speed and seamless integration are key to effectiveness," the researchers say.