Ad market soars to record January level; breaks through $5bn for first time

Australia’s media agency market has started the new 2022 year with a bang, lifting the value of ad revenue in January by 15.4% year-on-year to now be 5.1% above the pre-COVID January 2019 total.

And that result has further strengthened the record figures already being seen across this financial year with the ad spend total up 16.1% to move through the $5 billion mark for the first time in this seven-month period.

SMI AU/NZ Managing Director Jane Ractliffe said the results were a further testament to the strength of the Australian advertising economy as it continues to move well past the COVID era.

“The value of Australia’s advertising market in January is not only well above pre-COVID levels but also 4.5% above the last record level of January ad spend set in 2018, which underscores the strength of the ad demand we’re currently experiencing,” she said.

The Digital media again emerged as the largest stand-alone media in January with revenues up 18.7%, with the strongest growth seen in the Social Media sector. TV ad spend also continued to grow (+18.9%) although this month it was buoyed by the return of the Australian Open tennis tournament into January from February last year due to COVID.

Arguably the stand-out result came from the Outdoor media given the difficulties the industry has endured through the COVID period, with the latest data showing January ad spend lifted 18.6% year-on-year to be just $1.8 million shy of its pre-COVID January 2019 total. Similarly, Cinema’s recovery also continued with ad revenues up 81% in January and have now trebled over the previous financial year period.

Among key product categories, Ractliffe said the headline news was the emergence of the Government category as the market’s largest for the first time in January after lifting the value of its media investment by 51% year-on-year as various Governments continue messaging in response to the COVID pandemic.

However, Ractliffe said the SMI data showed the current level of ad demand was being fuelled by a concentrated number of product categories, with 18 major categories reporting lower ad spend than in January 2019.

“The growth in Government category ad spend is underpinning the market, but there are many large categories which are spending less now than in January 2019 with key examples being Retail, Domestic Banks and of course Automotive Brand,” she said.

“Media companies need to be well across these changing trends to maximise revenues during this high-growth period.”

More detail on the latest ad spend trends is available in the table below:


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