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Digital advertising is leading the recovery of the Australian advertising market


By Amit Bapna | Editor-at-large

August 23, 2021 | 3 min read

Australian advertising is showing shoots of recovery and resurgence, after a year and a half of post-pandemic sluggish marketing spends, according to a recent IAB and PwC Australia online advertising expenditure report.

Australian ad growth

Australian advertising market resurges

The report found digital advertising is leading the charge of the overall advertising market recovery. The Australian digital advertising market has recorded a growth of 24.2%, the strongest since 2016, as per the findings.

The category roadmap

  • Retail was the top advertising category for FY21, contributing to almost 16% of all display advertising.
  • FMCG and technology categories also increased their expenditure share for the period, to 7.2% and 6.4%, respectively. Not surprisingly, with the markets feeling the pinch, the finance category remained flat.
  • Equally obvious has been the trend of automotive and travel advertising expenditure showing a year-on-year dip, on the back of the pandemic.

The shift in media consumption

  • As the world stayed at home, more than ever, the consumption of digital went through the roof with all sectors of online advertising experiencing double-digit growth.
  • Video advertising grew by 38.8% year on year to reach $2.4bn, general display grew 29.7% to $4.4bn, search and directories grew 22.3% to $5.1bn and classifieds grew 17.4% to $1.9bn.
  • The evolving media consumption patterns, accelerated by the frequent lockdowns, also meant a stronger growth for connected TV spend (increasing share of all video spend from 38% to 47% year-on-year). Alongside desktop, share decreased from 36% to 32% and mobile from 26% to 21% for FY21.
  • In all this upheaval, programmatic trading continued to hold strong with slight growth from 41% to 43% share of expenditure for FY21.

Expert speaks

  • The growth in digital, while had been accepted as an emerging reality by marketers in the last few years, expedited at a scorching pace on the back of the pandemic.
  • Says Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia, “the growth in digital ad investment has made it clear that marketers are confident using it as a key growth engine for their businesses across the broad range of available formats and environments.”
  • The evolution of retailing and its role in marketing spends is also an interesting one to watch out for. Even as retail remains a major driver of digital advertising growth, it does not mean that all shopping will go digital. The future could well be omnichannel.
  • Le Roy, says, “Some shopping will return to physical stores in the future, the broad reach, deep engagement, and data-rich offerings will ensure retailers continue to place digital at the heart of their advertising and marketing plans.”
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