Updates on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter could be worth up to $30 million (£18.42 million) a day to internet marketing services providers, according to a new study.

Researchers at Penn State University in the US looked at real-time content searches on several social network sites to find what terms users are looking for and compared them with Google's AdWords Traffic Calculator to see if they could be monetised.

Jim Jansen, associate professor of information sciences and technology at the institution, said the results showed that there is a market in real-time search for advertisers to exploit.

"Real-time content is particularly interesting because it's a window into a person's world at a particular moment in time," he explained, noting that the findings of the study "would indicate that efforts to design advertising platforms for real-time search may be fruitful".

Recently, a report by Auros into social media use among marketers found that while many of the UK's major companies have a Twitter account, they often fail to use it to fully engage with their customers, Econsultancy reported.

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