Ad spend hits unprecedented highs in November

$852 million in advertising spend recorded by SMI the highest monthly recorded result, with first five months of the financial year up against pre-Covid 2019 figures

Australia’s growing advertising trajectory yet again continued in November with bookings reaching a record $852 million, higher than any other month.

According to new Standard Media Index (SMI) figures, a 1.5 per cent increase in media investment pushed November spend to unprecedented highs (November 2020: $840m). The firm is also predicting December figures will come in at a similar level, with 97 per cent of bookings recorded in the year prior confirmed even without including digital.

SMI A/NZ managing director, Jane Ractliffe, said ad spend was now up 16.3 per cent for the first five months of financial year compared to the same period in 2020, as well as 6.4 per cent compared to pre-Covid 2019 figures over the same five months.

“Given the level of uncertainty within the economy, it’s incredible to see such a resilient advertising market in November, with the total media investment of $852 million a monthly figure and level of ad spend that has never before been achieved in Australia,” she said.

“To give some extra perspective on the levels of ad spend we’re now seeing, the level of 2021 ad spend is 25 per cent higher than SMI reported for the same five months 10 years ago in 2011.”

Globally, SMI also figure similar record advertising increases in the US, Canada and New Zealand for November.

SMI figures showed digital media in both Australia and New Zealand had surpassed traditional TV as the largest standalone media in November, with a 7.6 per cent uptick in growth. The figures incorporated a -3.6 per cent drop in TV and 5.7 per cent lift in digital video.

This contrasted with record TV spend reported last year as part of the initial post-Covid wave surge. However, SMI noted combining TV and digital BVOD bookings still showed ‘video’ media as the largest media invested in. The digital category reported 8 per cent ad spend growth in November.

Radio was the biggest growth winner in November overall, lifting 8.5 per cent in traditional channels, while digital audio was also up 6.3 per cent. In comparison, out-of-home advertising was relatively flat at -2.3 per cent. News media fared slightly worse, dropping 3.7 per cent. This reflected a dip on newspapers triggered by one less weekend edition in November, but an increase in digital advertising.

In terms of industries, government has been underpinning total ad demand, with bookings lifting 41.1 per cent. By contrast, the auto category dipped back 19.3 per cent as supply chain restrictions further hit.

SMI said across the 11 months of 2021, total ad spend was up 20.8 per cent compared to the same period in 2020, and 1.8 per cent compared to 2019.

SMI reported October 2021 ad spend was up 2.7 per cent, reflecting the ninth consecutive month of higher ad spend.

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