Social networking needs to be understood and employed by internet marketing strategists, an industry expert has said.

According to Will Hodgman, comScore’s executive vice-president for the Asia Pacific region, the continued growth of social networking – which is becoming an integral part of people’s lives as it provides a greater level of engagement not found elsewhere – means internet marketers must embrace it.

"Understanding how to leverage this audience successfully is both a challenge and significant opportunity for most digital marketers today," he said.

Mr Hodgmans remarks follow comScore’s latest survey which reveals that more people than ever in Australia are logging on to social networking sites, with Twitter being the success story of 2009.

The comScore statistics state that 70 per cent – nearly nine million in total – of internet users in the country visited certain social media sites in June, an increase of 29 per cent on the previous year.

Other research by the organisation found that, in the UK, the number of 15 to 24-year-olds using social pages increased in June 2009, up by 14 per cent on 2008.

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