SMI - July ad spend up 40% despite lockdowns

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 1 September 2021

Media agency bookings grew 41.8% in July compared to the same month in 2020, partly buoyed by television ad spend for the Tokyo Olympics.

This was the fourth month in a row of growth beyond 40%, as measured by SMI (Standard Media Index).

The total market spend is 7.4% above the pre-COVID level in July 2019 and only $2 million off the record level of July ad spend reported in 2016.

TV ad spend, with a 41.9% rise compared to the same month last year, recorded its highest July since 2016. Ad spend at digital video sites doubled.

And the march higher continues with SMI’s Forward Pacings data showing August ad spend (ex digital) already up 15% on last year.

"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," says  SMI AU/NZ Managing Director Jane Ractliffe. 

Geographic analysis of SMI’s data shows ad spend on media based in NSW was up 52% and Victoria 46.3%.

Ractliffe says early August data shows TV, Outdoor, Radio and Cinema are reporting strong growth.

SMI’s Forward Pacings show the market already 82% booked compared to the total spent in September last year, the highest level of future confirmed payments seen at this point in the past two years.

"The Australian market is reporting similar trends to what we’re seeing elsewhere which proves the current market strength is not isolated, with the US market also back at pre-pandemic levels in July and the NZ media reporting a record level of ad spend for the month,’’ Ractliffe says.

"It’s clear that all markets are learning to live with COVID and are delivering strong recovery stories as large advertisers return their media investment to 2019 levels.’’

And in other SMI news, advertisers are being given an opportunity to trial the brand-level ad spend estimates SMI creates with the creative ad monitoring group Big Datr.

These estimates are derived using SMI’s premium category detail for all media to ensure a new level of accuracy, especially for Digital media sectors such as Social and Display. The advertiser ad spend detail is also not based on rate cards, but on actual bookings.

 smi july 2021

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