A new forecast is predicting a whopping $16.9 billion in social media revenues this year.
That would be a 43% increase over 2011, in which the industry generated $11.8 billion, according to a Gartner study.
More than half of the revenue in 2012--about $8.8 billion--is expected to come from advertising, with the rest coming from social gaming and subscription fees.
As the social medial landscape matures, the research firm predictsslower growth in users of social media services than in the past--butgreater growth in the development of monetization methods by social media services.
"Although the number of social media users is large, and in some cases increasingly mature in their usage patterns, the market is still in its early stages from a revenue perspective,” Gartner senior research analyst Neha Gupta said in a press release.
The Gartner report was released on the heels of news that Foursquarehad rolled out its first revenue-generating features.
The new promoted updates and specials feature lets consumer-facingcompanies make announcements directly to Foursquare users, using individual information--such as locations and interests--to targetspecific users.
Currently, TechCrunch reports, only the 20 companies participating in Foursquare's pilot program can use the program, which charges advertisers on a “cost per action” model rather than for views or impressions. Foursquare has not announced when it will open up the ads to all businesses.
Small advertisers take note: Other social media platforms have also been working to develop better monetization strategies.