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A slow first quarter for digital advertising in Australia and more challenges to come

Social & Digital

A slow first quarter for digital advertising in Australia and more challenges to come


The latest report from the IAB has shown that total online advertising growth has slowed in the first quarter of 2020 to deliver overall year-on-year growth of 3.8 percent.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report captured data up until 30 March 2020. The report reflects a difficult first quarter in the Australian digital advertising market, following a summer of bushfires, drought and the traditional post-Christmas decline. The report captures the first few weeks of the COVID-19 crisis but there will be a second wave of ad impact research released by IAB to understand the investment intentions of advertisers for the coming months. Future reports will be more telling of the long-term impacts that the pandemic will have on the digital advertising market.

“While this report captures the zeitgeist of the tough start to the year we experienced Australia-wide, it precedes the real impact of COVID-19. There is no doubt that the current quarter will be tougher for all in the industry but we are seeing shoots of hope in some sectors,” says Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia.

The report found that video advertising is continuing to grow. There is a continued skew towards programmatic advertising with 43 percent of all advertising having been bought programmatically. For the first time the entertainment category entered the top advertiser industry categories for display, while the travel sector experienced the largest decline. 

As previously reported, digital advertising did suffer in the first weeks of COVID-19 with discretionary spend evaporating. Data to date shows that approximately 50 percent of advertisers who had previously pulled spending are now back in market investing, though mostly at a reduced level.

Jasmine Giuliani

Jasmine Giuliani was the Editor of Marketing Mag from March 2020 to September 2021.

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