The Trade Desk: Two-thirds of Aussie ad budgets wasted on disengaged online platforms

the trade desk

The Trade Desk surveyed 2,002 Australian consumers in late 2023.

A new Trade Desk report has found that the vast majority of Australian advertising budgets are invested in online platforms where consumers are the least actively engaged. 

The Not All Time Online report seeks to better understand where Australian consumers find engagement and inspiration on the open internet, and ensure marketers identify opportunities that optimise their digital advertising budgets. 

The key findings include that more Australians are engaged on the ‘open internet’, with a third (33%) of consumers saying they feel informed and attentive while consuming content on fast-growing platforms. 


However, two-thirds of ad budgets are being spent on ‘walled gardens’, where consumers are zoning out. Nearly half (46%) of Aussies say they’re more likely to skip ads on walled gardens, including YouTube and other social media platforms. A further 52% believe these ads are “listening” to them.

James Bayes, vice president ANZ at The Trade Desk, said that time is a precious commodity, and Australians are becoming more intentional about where they spend it online.

“It’s these intentional spaces on the open internet that advertisers can forge meaningful consumer engagements. This is where Aussies are more engaged and far more likely to trust the ads they see,” he said.

The Trade Desk

James Bayes, ANZ vice president, The Trade Desk

Over a third (37%) of 18-34-year-olds said their use of the open internet has increased, while another 32% expected it to increase further. Among the same cohort, there was a nearly 50% increase in time spent on podcasts and music streaming and a 36% uptick for BVOD. Time spent on online games saw a 42% rise. 

“Advertisers who focus solely on walled gardens due to their sheer size are missing out on the broader spectrum of consumer behaviour. It’s crucial for advertisers to diversify their advertising strategies,” added Bayes.

“The open internet is home to fast-growing platforms such as BVOD and digital audio, and it provides opportunities for more meaningful connections, offering greater precision to reach Aussies where they are most engaged.”

The Trade Desk stated it surveyed 2,002 Australian consumers in late 2023 on their online media habits, attitudes, and experiences. This sample is representative of key demographic factors such as age, gender, and income, and additional weights were applied to ensure that the sample was representative of the population.

In tandem with the survey, qualitative interviews took place with a cohort of 14 industry experts.

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