Social media ad spend continues to grow despite falls in usage

Digital ad spend now accounts for 72.4% of all ad spend in Australia according to the latest figures published in Digital 2024 Australia.

The report, released by We Are Social in partnership with Meltwater, provides an in-depth analysis of the nation’s digital, social and e-commerce landscape.

Overall, the report put total digital ad spend in 2023 at A$20.539 (US$13.46 billion), up 6.8% compared to the previous year. Social media account for 27.6% of digital spend, after a 6% YoY increase in spend, while spend in influencer advertising was up 15%, now accounting for 3.4% of digital ad spend.

It follows the continual rise of digital, with 95% of the population now represented as internet users (25.21 million), and 86.5% of the adult population on social media (20.80 million).

The report also revealed how Australians aged 16 to 64 spent their time online, with average daily time now at six hours and 14 minutes, up 6.5% YoY. Social media usage was slightly down, dropping 10.6% to an average daily usage time of 1 hour and 51 minutes.

Internet users were also, on average, reported to be spending a decreasing time on traditional media and devices.

Time spent watching TV (broadcast or streaming) each day averaged three hours and 17 minutes (down 15.2%), while time spent reading news media (digital and print) fell 44.1% to one hour and five minutes, and time spent listening to radio and podcasts dipped 15.2% and 32.6% respectively.

The report revealed that TikTok dominates internet user’s social media time, with an average monthly usage of 42 hours and 13 minutes, almost double that of YouTube, which was in second place. This data is however based only on the usage of Android mobile users.

Suzie Shaw, CEO at We Are Social, said: “The data in this year’s report speaks volumes about how integral digital platforms have become in the daily lives of Australians. With almost all of the population active on social media, it’s clear that these platforms are no longer just an option but a necessity for brands to connect and engage with their audience.

“The remarkable surge in TikTok usage is proof of its evolution from an ’emerging platform’ to a pivotal channel. With its engaging content and sophisticated algorithm, TikTok captivates users’ attention like no other platform.

“Creators can be powerful allies for brands on the platform, boosting their cultural clout, helping them reach new audiences and influencing people’s choices. But TikTok is different from any other social platform. Marketers must grasp its nuances to capitalise on its immense potential.”

Despite its lesser hold on user’s time, Facebook was still the top social a platform in terms of reach, with 16.65 million users (66% of internet users).


David Hickey, executive director of Asia-Pacific at Meltwater said: “The data from this year’s report reaffirms how social media stands as the cornerstone of brand engagement and consumer interaction, with the growing investment in social media advertising further underscoring its pivotal role in a brand’s overall marketing strategy.

“As social media continues to shape consumer behaviour, it has become imperative for marketers to understand and capitalise on key insights from these platforms. These insights not only inform the refinement and effectiveness of future campaigns, but also serve as the bedrock for maximising returns on their investment.”

The full report can be viewed at


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