Digital advertising surges in Q4, grows 2% in CY20 despite pandemic

Investment in digital advertising continues to lead the way in terms of Australia’s post-COVID recovery after a tough 2020, with Q4 of 2020 recording 20.3% growth year-on-year to $2.935 billion.

According to the latest IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report (OAER), Q4 also saw a 29.7% increase in investment compared to the prior quarter.

Significantly, too, total investment in digital advertising for the calendar year 2020 (CY2020) actually grew, despite the pandemic, up 2% on CY2019 to reach $9.5 billion.

IAB CY20 Highlights [click to enlarge]

Both general display (+26.8%) and search (21.1%) showed strong growth year-on-year as well, with display’s share of digital ad spend rising to 41%. Meanwhile, video advertising investment also showed its power, with a 41% increase compared to the final quarter of 2019.

Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia, said: “Digital advertising saw a robust comeback in the second half of the year with an extraordinarily strong December quarter with marketer demand flowing across all inventory types.

“The combination of delayed marketing spend, traditional seasonal uplift, news of a COVID vaccine and increased consumer online media & commerce behaviour all contributed to the stellar quarter.”

Top 5 Categories By Expenditure Type [click to enlarge]

Breaking down the top five categories for reported general display by expenditure type, retail increase its share to 15%, while finance, FMCG and technology advertisers all grew their share.

Auto continued to lag the rest of the market, as its share continued to fall, down from 21.5% in CY19 to 12.4% for CY20.


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