Internet marketers looking to take advantage of the growth in social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace have been advised that campaigns will need to be engaging.

According to a spokesman for the Social Media Portal (SMP), a group which monitors the activity of global social media and user generated content, online advertising using social networking should be subtle or it could have the reverse effect.

Tim Gibbon, co-founder and editor of SMP, said marketers could drive their audience away if they try too hard to push their campaigns on social media users.

"[Advertisers] are going to have to be a little more sensitive to the way that adverts are targeted at people and how they interact with them … If it’s too much … then they are going to switch off," he advised.

According to a recent Ofcom Communications Market Report 2007, online advertising soared in value from £835 million in 2004 to £2 billion in 2006.

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