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Updates on social networking sites worth more than 30m dlrs a day

April 13, 2011 - Washington

Penn State researchers have claimed that updates on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other real-time content sites could be worth more than 30 million a day, or nearly 10.9 billion dollars a year, to advertisers.

"Real-time content is particularly interesting because it's a window into a person's world at a particular moment in time," said Jim Jansen, associate professor, information sciences and technology. "What we wanted to determine is if real-time search could be monetized."

Jansen defines real-time content as messages-usually about the size of a typical English sentence-and links to other forms of content that people post to social networks and online sites. Real-time search engines present a stream of this content based on keywords entered by users.

The researchers examined six months of real-time search queries from the database of Collecta, a real-time search engine. Queries are words and phrases that people plug into search engines to find information.

After separating duplicate searches to find unique search terms, they determined the value of the real-time search terms by using Google Adwords Traffic Estimator. This calculator estimates how valuable ads might be. More commonly used search terms typically are more expensive for advertisers.

Of the 1,005,296 total queries, researchers determined that 297,392, or 30 percent, were unique queries. Approximately 52 percent of the unique searches had economic value. If the searches were presented on a Google search results page, the researchers estimated people would click the resulting ads generated by the search more than 6.4 million times a day and generate approximately 33,023,320 dollars in revenue from those clicks.

"This would indicate that efforts to design advertising platforms for real time search may be fruitful," said Jansen.

The research has been published in the online version of Information Processing and Management.


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