Ad spend back 24.3% in September, but footy finals deliver early October boost

Demand for advertising bookings in early October is the strongest since COVID-19 began to impact the industry, thanks to the NRL and AFL finals held just over a week ago.

The latest figures from the Standard Media Index (SMI) document a predictably tough September, which saw ad spend fall 24.3%, after a 17.2% decline in August and a 28.4% fall in July.

September 2020 ad spend trends [click to enlarge]

SMI said the strong results for digital follow a continued increase in ad spend across social media, a sector reporting growth of 47.8% in September and 28.9% for the September quarter.

Companies such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn all experienced large increases in ad spend.

But not all categories were better off, with print media continuing to suffer in September as magazines fell 56.2% and newspapers dropped 46.3% compared with the previous year.

Outdoor was another segment to be worse off YoY than it was in August, dipping 62%.

COVID-19 continues to delay some of 2020’s most anticipated film releases, contributing to huge dent in cinema ad spend, down 90.5%.

Looking at October, sport-related ad spend was a focus early in the month due to the football finals. Early data shows that TV is leading the month’s recovery, with bookings up 8.8% already.

So far, the early October figures also show ad spend falling just 14%, which is the least severe drop the market has experienced since COVID-19 lockdowns first kicked in.

 SMI AUNZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said the positive October trends already look set to continue into November. In fact, confirmed November bookings rose by almost 3% in the past two weeks to be 7.6% up for the period year-on-year.

“SMI’s forward booking data shows advertising demand for November returning to pre-COVID levels with more than 60% of the value of last November’s total ad spend already confirmed before the month’s trading has even begun,” Ractliffe said.

“And television looks set to report another growth month in November given 90% of the value of last November’s total bookings have already been paid for.

“And across the market we can see other media poised to also do well as key categories such as food/produce/dairy, technology,  gambling and household supplies are already reporting higher year-on-year media investment in November.”

Looking at the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the past nine months, the Australian market has declined a total of 23.4% after a September quarter that fell 22.4%.

SMI’s confirmed future ad demand [click to enlarge]

Similarly to the Australian market, early October figures for NZ are showing ad spend is down only 11%.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.