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News 1 Sep 2021 - 2 min read

Advertisers ‘learning to live with Covid’ as July ad spend up 41.8%: SMI

By Sam Buckingham-Jones - Senior Writer
Standard Media Index shows July ad spend has risen 41.8 per cent

"It’s clear the advertising market has learned to live with COVID,’’ SMI's Jane Ractliffe says.

After a major contraction in ad spend in 2020, July’s SMI figures show the Australian advertising industry is living with Covid, despite lockdowns, Managing Director Jane Ractliffe says. August is also looking stronger than last year.

What you need to know:

  • Ad spend in July is up more than 40 per cent yearon-year, SMI data shows.
  • This demonstrates advertisers are learning to live with Covid, as forward bookings for August are already up 15 per cent, not including digital.
  • The total advertising pie has grown by 7.4 per cent compared to July 2019, before Covid hit.

The Australian advertising industry has “learned to live with Covid”, Standard Media Index AU/NZ Managing Director Jane Ractliffe says, as July’s figures show a fourth consecutive month with 40 per cent annual growth.

Total marketing bookings rose 41.8 per cent from July last year, partly boosted by the Tokyo Olympics which saw TV’s ad spend rise 41.9 per cent to the highest July result since 2016.

Despite lockdowns, SMI’s Forward Pacings data shows August ad spend is up 15 per cent on last year – not including digital.

"It’s clear the advertising market has learned to live with COVID as there is definitely no panicked mass cancellation of ad spend as we saw last year evident in the payment data,’’ Ractliffe said.

State by state analysis suggests NSW and Victoria are driving the surge, showing 52 per cent and 46.3 per cent rise in spend respectively.

Total market spend is 7.4 per cent above that in July 2019, and just $2 million shy of the record level of July ad spend reported in 2016.

Cinema reported a 1834.7 per cent rise, Outdoor rose 111.1 per cent, Digital Video rose 109.1 per cent and Digital Audio rose 65.7 per cent, year-on-year, according to SMI’s July 2021 figures.

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