Follow the Money


Last Friday on the 11th April 2013 CEASA released their 2013 annual report, to which I imagine a large proportion of people working in our industry would have ignored reading. Probably a risk sending out a big data heavy report to agency people on a Friday afternoon (good one Andree).

I didn’t ignore it however, as I’ve been following the CEASA data pretty much since I started in digital media, as amongst many other interesting facets, they have gotten particularly good at forecasting ad spend by medium 5+ years into the future.

I remember way back in 2004 when I first took a look at this report that 2013 2014 looked to be a very interesting year, as CEASA predicted this was going to be the year that digital ad spend in Australia was tipped to overtake television spend. Back then Digital ad spend was around the same levels as Radio so those kind of forecasts seemed extremely lofty, almost preposterous. Digital was still very much perceived as a ‘nice to have’ addition to a TV and print media schedule – budgets permitting of course. Our time very much relegated to the tail end of a media recommendation – after all of the Outdoor proposed sites were fawned over for 45 minutes and long after the discussions about the latest Desperate Housewives episode had finished.

Fast forward to April 11th 2014, for those of us that took a peek at the report you would have noticed something monumental has happened in our industry last year. For the first time ever, online ad spend has surpassed free to air television advertising ad spend. 

A.Viccars blog pic

This number does vary according to sources. The Actual CEASA data has TV ad spend ever so slightly higher than Online advertising by 0.1%:

However the 2013 IAB / Price Waterhouse Coopers report which audits all digital publisher ad spend has confirmed these numbers, Digital spend has surpassed FTA TV spend.

Either way you look at it, the fact that Australian advertisers now spend more money on digital advertising than any other medium is a number we cannot afford to ignore. We’ve known for years that there was, and still is a disconnect with consumers share of time spend with a digital vs. digital ad spend – but this number is very much now starting to (finally!) catch up. Search still dominates the market, with over 50% of the spend allocated to the ‘search & classifieds’ category however growth hasn’t been exclusively driven by the Google machine.

Growth in digital spend will continue to explode as organisations start to grasp and execute true personalised marketing through forging relationships with data organisations, and opening up the doors to marry their customer audience segments with programmatic trading. Mobile ad spend is still small, but growing at an exponential rate (304% growth YoY) and video content publishers continue to lap up the high demand of video inventory in the Australian market.

It truly is an exciting time to be in media, and the explosion of digital marketing options make for a complex, yet rewarding reappraisal of the way agencies, marketers and publishers evolve their business models.

In a way it feels a little bit frightening, as a digital media guy it was always an easy option to excite clients about ‘the future of digital’ and what it will look like in 3, 5, 10 years down the track as devices and platforms become truly connected – and the customer journey / path to purchase started and ended with digital at the heart, from inspiration through to research, purchase & advocacy. This is however very much the reality of the world we live in now.

I bought undies last week… and I didn’t even need to leave my couch to do so.

Frightening (for so many reasons).

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