Programmatic to account for 48% of online display spend in Australia

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 4 May 2018

Programmatic will account for nearly half (48%) of online display spend in Australia this year, according to the latest State of Digital report from GroupM.

Australia's programmatic expected spend for 2018 was projected to be higher than the global average of 44%, and up from 35% in 2017 and 20% in 2016.

In relation to media use, online will have a 39% share in Australia, TV 32%, print 4% and radio 25%. In regards to transactions, 35% of online display investment was transacted programmatically in Australia in 2017 versus 20% in 2016. This will rise to 48% in 2018, slightly higher than the global average.

Of investment into online display, 30% was found in video in 2017 compared 23% in 2016 and is predicted to rise to 35% this year.

GroupM also tabulated consumers’ time spent with each media format, globally, and calculated average time spent with media overall. In 2018, consumers will spend an average 9.73 hours with media, up from 9.68 hours in 2017.

Australian consumers are predicted to be less engaged with media by global standards, with findings indicating they will spend an average 7.9 hours with media, which will still be up from 7.86 hours in 2017.


Research also examined the global regulatory scrutiny of the digital marketplace, finding that one positive effect was an increase in the demand for human, viewable and brand-safe inventory, reducing the demand for bad supply.

"The reverse of this argument, and one likely to be fueled by GDPR, is that supply scarcity, particularly following an unprecedented inventory glut, will cause inflation," the report stated.

"Scrutiny has also shone a critical light on dubious metrics and issues such as excessive frequency delivery, despite the seeming precision of digital measurement."

The scrutiny is said to have created a more informed set of advertiser and agency buyers. GroupM's own work in the UK, Australia and other markets suggest that “run of exchange” – the bottom of the race to the bottom – is not where it is found.


Australia is the only country that describes a strong trend to in-housing with names including midsize advertisers Foxtel, CommBank and Coles (supermarket) as main examples.

The report finds that in the UK in-housing is widely discussed but not yet implemented. This is due to many clients having the will but not the means. There is, however, a rising tide of client interest in tech and data, and a desire to be involved in selecting the tech stack.

GroupM US has not seen much in-housing among its own clients, however, buying digital, especially programmatic, is difficult in terms of finding and keeping the right talent, and knowing how to evaluate DSPs.

Below is a chart outline the figures around programmatic, online display investment but also media usage and the growth of smart speaker usage, which is expected to double this year.

Group M digital data chart


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