Aussie digital ad market remains buoyant in Q1 with $2.88bn in spend

The digital advertising market in Australia grew significantly in the March quarter, with figures from IAB Australia showing year-on-year growth to $2.883 billion.

That year-on-year increase comes as all categories: search and directories, general display and classifieds each had double-digit growth in the quarter. However, the figure is  slightly below the December 2020 which saw spend reach $2.94 billion.

Search and directories were up 26.5%, while general display increased by 28.9% and classifieds went up 18.5%.

IAB Q1 Revenue Update 2021

The data comes from the IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report (OAER), prepared by PwC, and suggests that digital advertising in Australia is outpacing the overall ad market.

IAB Australia CEO Gai Le Roy said the figures were clear signs that the market is rebounding, reflecting increasing consumer confidence.

“Digital advertising continues apace and we’re seeing a diversification of that spend into a broader range of opportunities across different digital offerings.

“There’s no doubt the Australian market is bouncing back but there’s still plenty of room for further growth, with expectations that as borders re-open and supply chains improve, both the travel and automotive categories will increase the investment in digital advertising.”

Retail advertising has held a record share of display advertising investment for the last two quarters, and continued its growth trajectory.

In terms of the top five industry share categories for reported general display by expenditure, retail grew its share to 16.4% and Finance upped its share to 9.3%.

Automotive’s share dipped to 12.5%, while Real Estate (7.1%) and FMCG (6.9%) held steady shares.

IAB Q1 Category Share [click to enlarge]

Travel advertising has begun its recovery thanks to the boom in domestic tourism, slight up on recent quarters.

Total video advertising expenditure fell slightly to $572 million in the March quarter following a record spend of $645 million last in the December 2020- quarter.

The IAB also reported that programmatic trading of content publishers’ video inventory increased, peaking at 61% of the total expenditure, versus 34% bought through agencies.

IAB Australia has over 150 members in Australia and nearly 9,000 globally spanning media owners, publishers, technology companies, agencies and advertisers.

Earlier this year the IAB began an independent review into digital audience measurement requirements, followed by a tender for online measurement services, which commenced this month.

In April, the IAB announced it has chosen not to endorse Nielsen’s new-look Digital Media Ratings, which have now been released twice as part of a “soft release”, with figures not going out publicly or to trade media.


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