Australian ad spend grew 1.9% in 2018 despite slowing half, reports SMI

SMI has reported 2018 was the sixth year consecutive year of growth in the Australian advertising market, however the second half statistics indicated a sharp slowdown for the sector.

The index, which measures bookings through most of the major media agencies, reported total ad spend for the year was up 1.9% to $7.03b, despite a $64.2m slump in the final quarter, which in October saw falls across all sectors.


The 3.3% fall in the last quarter was mostly due to large declines in ad spending by the domestic banks, down 23.4%, the Food/Produce/Dairy sectors which declined 15.6% and restaurants which slipped 13.4%.

After October’s fall, November reported a 4.4% decline which continued into December which saw spending slip another 4.8%.

Highlights of the year included outdoor overtaking digital media spend to become the fastest growing for the first time with a 13.7% share of agency booking.

Digital media itself broke through the $2bn mark while radio reported its sixth consecutive year of record ad spend.

SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said the record level of ad spend proved the ongoing strength of the industry and its ability to evolve to meet advertiser and market needs.

“We’ve seen agencies spending more on metropolitan TV for the third year in a row while also branching into new media services such as podcasting and digital outdoor as clients continue to test new services to gain the best value from their advertising investment,” she said.

Ractliffe pointed out the year was also notable for a significant change in growth drivers within the digital media, with search and social media bookings delivering the highest growth.

“The search media returned to very strong growth in 2018 after a more subdued 2017 while social media maintained strong double-digit growth across both years,” she said.

“But the biggest change was the large slowdown in growth in programmatic bookings, as in 2017 that market had grown by $174.3 million but in 2018 the increase is a far reduced $19.4 million and as a result programmatic’s share of total digital bookings fell across all time periods.”


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