Media agency bookings tracking down 40% in April

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 20 May 2020

Ad spend through Australia’s media agencies fell 42% in April, the first full month affected by a lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to industry insiders.

The fall, the 20th month in a row to record a drop in agency bookings, was worse than expected. Early numbers had indicated a slide of 30%. 

The fall for April is four times as steep as March when ad spend dropped 10.6% as social distancing began to take effect in the last two weeks of the month.

April SMI (Standard Media Index) numbers due to be released officially later this month will show hard falls for television (down almost one third), digital (down more than 40%) and outdoor (down almost two-thirds).

Automotive spend fell by almost half, restaurants were down almost 48% and gambling more than 65%. Spend by retailers fell by more than 20%.

The only category trending higher was domestic banks, with ad spend 21% higher compared to the same month last year.

Advertising spend by banks peaked in March 2018 during the financial services royal commission and then fell off a cliff.

In mid April, SMI analysts were reporting the banks had already spent 95% of what they did in April 2019 and had booked more than 50% of spend for May.

Market analysts have been predicting a grim June quarter, with a pickup in the September quarter as economic activity returns and brands look to carve out market positions.

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