SMI September: Agency market maintains record revenue

• Q3 and CYTD bookings remain at record levels

Australia’s media agency market has delivered another month of stable advertising expenditure against a tough backdrop, with total ad spend back just 1% to $665.9 million from last year’s record September result, reports SMI.

Last September a flurry of advertising related to the Same Sex Marriage debate pushed ad spend to new highs, making the year-on-year comparison difficult for all major media. As a result, this month the only major media reporting double-digit growth is outdoor (+14.8%).

But the market remains at record levels for both the September quarter and calendar year-to-date (Jan-Sept) periods with September quarter ad spend up by 1.6% to $1.8 billion, and the CYTD figures up an even more impressive 4.2% to $5.3 billion.

SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Ractliffe said the SMI data highlights the changing spend patterns of major product categories which are affecting the level of market demand.

“This was the first month of 2018 in which we’ve seen a year-on-year decline in spending by the domestic bank advertisers, and they have been one of the key drivers of the record levels of ad spend we’ve seen this year given their higher level of advertising investment throughout the financial services royal commission,” she said.

“And there was also unusually soft demand from the gambling advertising market with those advertisers collectively reporting a double-digit decline in ad spend despite the month featuring the AFL and NRL Grand Finals.”

In contrast the SMI data showed strong growth from automotive brand advertisers (+22%), the home furnishing/appliances market (+7.3%) and, after a year of softer demand, the toiletries/cosmetics category returned to growth in September (+6.2%).

In terms of notable trends, we continue to see softer demand for digital media (total bookings up 1.2% in September) and increasingly varied demand among key digital sectors. For example, advertising demand for social media sites soared 12.8% in September but the value of programmatic advertising has declined 8%.

More detail on the latest September ad spend trends is shown below.

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