Just $32K spent by Aus Gov on vaccine-specific digital advertising, finds Pathmatics

Digital marketing intelligence platform Pathmatics, which recently launched in Australia and New Zealand, has released a report on digital advertising spend from the Australian Government on COVID-19 vaccine campaigning.

Pathmatics has found that of the $6 million spent by the Australian Government on digital advertising between April 2020 – June 2021, $3 million was spent on COVID-related campaigns, yet only $32,000 was spent on vaccine-specific campaigns.


Monthly breakdown of government Covid ad spend [click to enlarge]

A state-by-state breakdown revealed that New South Wales led the way on COVID ad spend, with a total of, $4.7 million, closely followed by Queensland at $3.5 million. Victoria experienced the most extensive and heavy restrictions, yet only spent $900,000, during the reported period.

Additionally, spend by South Australia was $700,000; the Australian Capital Territory spent $200,000; Tasmania $53,000; Western Australian a tiny $1,700 while the Northern Territory spent $0.

Digital intelligence platform Pathmatics was launched locally last week

The report looked at campaign spend on digital platforms, and found that of the $6 million spent, $5.6 million of that was spent on Facebook ads, deeming it the preferred channel by some margin.

The vaccine roll-out, which has been the target of criticism due to the speed of which it is being run, has only received minimal funding at a national level.

Last week, Siimon Reynolds, the man credited with creating Australia’s most powerful public health campaign, the 1987 ‘Grim Reaper’ advertisements, urged a “hardcore” message to overcome COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.

Reynolds told Mumbrella: “It’s crazy they haven’t gone hard on ‘You’ve got to get the vaccine’. In the last ten days it’s become apparent that it’s a problem that people don’t have vaccines. But if we go back three weeks, a lot of people – in fact, 30% of Australia – had no intention of getting the vaccine such was the feeling that we had nothing to worry about any more.”

How COVID campaign spend has changed over the quarter at a government level

  • Q2 2020 – $2,600,000
  • Q3 2020 – $145,000
  • Q4 2020 – $9,000
  • Q1 2021 – $32,000
  • Q2 2021 – $38,000

The top government COVID campaigns from April 2020 – June 2021, by ad spend were:

  • How to stay informed & safe during COVID – $2,600,000
  • Smartraveller overseas restrictions info – $145,000
  • Smartraveller travel advice for New Zealand – $38,000

It was reported in May that the Federal Department of Health would be launching a new campaign in July, encouraging under-40s to get vaccinated. Contracts lodged on the Australian Government Tender website show BMF was awarded $1 million on 20 April 2021 for “Creative Services for COVID-19 Vaccines Campaign”.

In May, the ABC’s producer and broadcaster, Dr Norman Swan, compared the Federal Government’s wider $24 million COVID-19 vaccine immunisation campaign to something produced by a “communist government committee”, stating it was failing to produce the desired outcome and was “not enough”.


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