A recent agency survey conducted by ClickZ found that clients are spending much more heavily on social media in 2012, with some even doubling their spend over the same period last year.

The big winner so far is Facebook, with clients spending the most on Premium Ads and Marketplace Ads. Twitter runs a distant second with less than 25% of clients purchasing Promoted Tweets, Promoted Accounts or Promoted Trends.

“I think social has become fairly mainstream, and I think the education amongst our clients has improved substantially,” said Adam Donnelley, an EVP at MRM, one of the agencies surveyed by ClickZ. “Facebook has managed to get more targeted and build broader reach, and that’s clearly something coming up in conversations rather frequently.”

When asked what social networks have piqued brands’ interest in 2012, Pinterest, Zynga, Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, YouTube, and Stumbleupon made the list. One agency rep said that Twitter should see substantially more interest this year thanks, in part, to the success experienced by American Express and its Twitter campaign, which allows cardholders to synch their cards with Twitter in order to receive discounts from major retail brands.

The survey findings tell me that both agencies and their clients are becoming more social media savvy. With television viewership in decline, especially among younger people, it makes sense that brands would take a closer look at what social media has to offer from an advertising perspective.

But, is advertising, even on social networks, the answer? Or, is participation with fans and followers through campaigns that build loyalty and stimulate advocacy the better option? Maybe it’s not one or the other, but both/and. Regardless, brands have dollars to spend on advertising and the good news where social commerce is concerned is that they are beginning to spend more via social networks.