Report: Government $6m digital ad spend during Covid crisis analysed

Pathmatics digital ad spend analysis finds of the $6 million spent over the last 15 months, $3 million went to Covid digital advertising but only $32,000 reflects vaccine messaging

Half of the Federal Government’s $6 million digital advertising spend over the past 15 months has been related to Covid, but just $32,000 of it reflects vaccine-related messaging.

That’s the top-line finding of a new report produced by digital marketing intelligence vendor, Pathmatics, which analysed the Australian government’s digital advertising spend between April 2020 and June 2021 to understand the split across campaigns, channels and the focus of creative.

The reporting showed the Federal Government to have spent $6 million over the 15-month period on digital advertising, $5.6 million of which went into Facebook advertising. Of this, $3 million related to Covid messaging, and $32,000 specifically to communications related to vaccines.

“Despite vaccine hesitancy being at an all-time high, along with confusion around who is eligible for what, the Australian government has publicly stated it sees no reason to increase investment on an education campaign,” Pathmatics stated.  

Breaking this down by campaigns, Pathmatics found the ‘How to stay informed and safe during Covid’ received the most spend at $2.6 million overall, followed by ‘Smartraveller overseas restrictions info’ ($145,000) and ‘Smartraveller advice for New Zealand’ ($38,000).

Pathmatics also looked at the split of digital advertising spend on Covid campaigns across Australia’s various states. NSW led the tally, spending $4.7 million between April 2020 and June 2021, followed by Queensland at $3.5 million. Victoria was third ($900,000), South Australia fourth ($700,000) and the ACT rounded out the top five ($200,000).

Also reported was how Covid campaign spend changed by quarter at a government level. In Q2, 2010, the first quarter of reporting, spend reached $2.6 million, then dropped to $145,000 in Q2, 2020. By Q1, 2021, this was down to $32,000, but increased slightly to $38,000 in Q2 2021.

Vaccine campaign spend has also changed each quarter. In Q2, 2021, Pathmatics said vaccine campaign spend totalled $4000, while in Q2, 2021, spend totalled $22,000.

In addition, Pathmatics recorded impressions achieved off the back of this spend to indicate impact. During Q2, 2020, the $2.6m in digital ad spend results in more than 475 million impressions. By contrast, the $38,000 spent in Q2, 2021 equated to just over 11.4 million impressions.

Credit: Pathmatics

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