SMI: Spend in March quarter continues ad industry's upwards trajectory

Latest figures show Australia has experienced 14 months of consecutive advertising spend growth

Australian media agencies figures are showing the advertising industry to be enjoying its 14th consecutive month of growth, with the March quarter again showing record levels of spend.

The latest Standard Media Index (SMI) figures show advertising demand lifted 2.8 per cent in March, as digital, radio and cinema all delivered strong gains. While March 2022 didn’t exceed pre-pandemic figures in 2018 and 2019, the research firm said the increase continued consistent monthly growth reported over the past year.

According to SMI, Australia has now had 14 consecutive months of ad spend growth, and only one month of negative ad spend in 17 months. SMI managing director, Jane Ractliffe, described it as indicative of a new period of stability.

“It really is an extraordinary turnaround from the dark days in Australian ad spend breaks records in 2021 to reach $8.6bnmid-2020 when the impact of the Covid pandemic was at its peak. Now the ad market has followed the economy in learning to live with Covid and that ensures more certainly for all media stakeholders,” she stated.

Over the March quarter, SMI reported a 9.4 per cent increase in ad spend, including a 2.2 per cent lift in TV media. Digital ad spend was up 19.2 per cent and remains the largest media category this financial year with a 24.2 per cent rise in the year to date. Outdoor bookings also grew 8.7 per cent over the March quarter.

This also ensured market value over the financial year-to-date is at record levels, with the 14.2 per cent lift pushing value to beyond $6 billion for the first year.

SMI said forward pacings data shows more gains are expected in April, with early spend exclusive digital just 2.6 per cent below April 2021 levels.  

Related: Australian ad spend breaks records in 2021 to reach $8.6bn

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