Internet research firm eMarketer on Thursday reported that advertisers are flocking to Facebook and will spend more than a billion dollars at the world's top online social network.

"Brand advertisers are making Facebook a core buy," said eMarketer senior analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

"Ad spending is building quickly and the mass audience is one that marketers cannot ignore any longer."

Facebook membership topped 500 million people in July and it is not unusual for users of the service to spend hours weekly, if not daily, at the website.

Research by eMarketer indicated that advertisers will spend 1.28 billion dollars worldwide trying to get pitches to Facebook members.

Facebook's success in luring ads is due in part to a "self-serve" software tool that lets advertisers create their own virtual pitches and target them based on basic demographics such as age or gender.

The tool accounts for half of the ads placed at Facebook, according to eMarketer.

Meanwhile, advertising revenue at News Corp-owned social networking service MySpace was expected to slip to 297 million dollars, a 14 percent drop from the 347 million dollars taken in worldwide last year, the market tracker said.

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