Banks spent circa $50m on online ads in 12 months

In the 12 months to 31 August ten major banks in Australia received approximately 9.2 billion online ad impressions and spent over $50 million to do so, according to AdClarity and Similarweb data.

In turn this, along with just under $15 million spent on ‘search’ and also organic traffic, delivered 204 million unique visitors to their websites.

Unsurprisingly the Big Four were the top spenders and had the largest share of voice. However only three of the big four were the top performers in terms of driving unique traffic (share of behaviour). Bendigo Bank and ING’s efficiency ranking was higher than their spend ranking – forth and fifth, versus seventh and eight, while the NAB’s and Bankwest’s performance suggests an inefficient spend.

AdClarity and Similarweb compared impressions bought with unique visitors to each website the banks used and generated a ratio where 1 is where share of voice or % of impressions bought (SOV) equals share of behaviours or % of unique visitors (SOB). The most efficient brands generated SOB greater than SOV, while the less efficient brands had higher SOV than SOB.

At a total level, social, video and display ads were almost even split with around 30% of impressions in each. According to the research there was however, a “marked differences in the mix of channels used by the different banks, suggesting different strategies to reach and appeal to their media target”.

The data found that 29% of ad impressions were display ads.

Additionally, 31% were delivered in social media: approximately 2.7 billion impressions (27% of spend) and across the three main publishers – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter,  Facebook delivered over 90% of these impressions.

Videos accounted for 41% of impressions, across 115 publishers. However, YouTube delivered the bulk of impressions, with more than 2.1 billion across desktop and mobile apps, with delivering a further one in three. Ads were seen across 809 YouTube channels, and 82% of these were delivered before the ‘main video’ (10% were at the end).

NAB used a considerably smaller proportion of total spend on social compared to the other Big Four banks and far less than St George which delivered 75% of impressions, bought on social platforms.

ME Bank, Bendigo and Bankwest were delivered more than half of impressions from video and YouTube in particular, while BOQ hardly used video at all.

BOQ and ING received more than three in four of impressions via banner ads.

Across the category, search spend was the equivalent of 30% of digital advertising spend, at $14.8 million. The industry spend on search largely mirrors online advertising spend but with a few exceptions. While NAB bought the most impressions by some margin, CBA outspent them on search. ING spent >70% of its advertising spend on search. The three poorest performers on the efficiency metric also had the lowest mix of spend of search vs digital advertising at less than 10%.

The research also observed marked differences in the ‘quality’ of ad space bought, reducing the likelihood of being seen by the audience. In display it saw four banks delivering less than 50% of their display ads visible without scrolling. Similarly, two brands saw less than 50% of their video ads shown either mid or post roll.

While some 1,000 publishers were utilised by the banks, top publishers included Facebook, YouTube, and with approximately 2 billion impressions each and accounting for two thirds of total impressions.

The vast majority of impressions bought by the banks were delivered programmatically indicating confidence in this buying method to deliver their messages to their audience. The majority of direct ( being the standout) and also ad network-bought ads were also delivered programmatically.

AdClarity & Similarweb are independent providers of c digital intelligence and do not rely on the cooperation of third parties to compile data. Similarweb, as well as website traffic data, provides additional insights into brand strategies.


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