SMI - Ad spend lift continues into November media agency bookings

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 2 November 2020

A lift in ad spend, reported for October, has continued into November. 

But, as expected, September ad spend weakened. As measured by media agency numbers reported by SMI (Standard Media Index), ad spend fell 24.3% in September as key sporting events and attached advertising moved to October.

The shift of the AFL and NRL final series and grand finals into October was the main reason for a 19.5% fall in television ad spend in September.

Digital media, driven by a continuing increase in ad spend to all forms of social media, was the best performing for the month with ad spend back just 2.7%.

SMI’s Social Media sector data reporting growth of 47.8% in September and 28.9% for the September quarter with Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and LinkedIn all delivering large increases in ad spend.

However, SMI’s early October data shows the shift of the sporting-related ad spend into that month, with TV bookings already up 8.8%, which has in turn ensured early October market bookings being back just 14%.

Jane Ractliffe, SMI AU/NZ managing director, says the trend is continuing, with confirmed November bookings strengthening by almost three percentage points in the past two weeks to be 7.6 percentage points ahead of the same time last year.

"SMI’s Forward Booking data shows advertising demand for November returning to pre-COVID levels with more than 60% of the value of last November’s total ad spend already confirmed before the month’s trading has even begun," she says.

"And Television looks set to report another growth month in November given 90% of the value of last November’s total bookings have already been paid for. And across the market we can see other media poised to also do well as key categories such as Food/Produce/Dairy, Technology, Gambling and Household Supplies are already reporting higher year-on-year media investment in November."

smi forward

In September results, Ractliffe says there were also other significant timing issues affecting the market with the Rugby World Cup broadcast in September last year and an extra Monday last September which especially affects radio given the increased level of week bookings included in the September 2019 result.

The improvement in the Australian market mirrors that seen in other global advertising markets, with SMI reporting an 22.3% fall in NZ ad demand in September (that market was especially affected by the spike in ad spend for last year’s RWC) but in New Zealand the early October figures show the market only back 11%.

But in markets unaffected by movements in sports events we can see a clearer improvement in ad spend, with the value of US ad spend back just 2.7% in September (although digital bookings lifted 8%) and Canadian ad spend was back just 5.7% (with TV bookings growing 2.5%).

However, the impact of the COVID pandemic will be seen in the longer term SMI figures, with the September quarter decline hitting 22.4% and the decline in ad spend over the past nine months is now at 23.4%.

smi sept 2020

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