One of the great media growth streaks has come to an end in February, with SMI’s updated Digital data showing the media’s agency expenditure went backwards in the month with bookings down 1.7 per cent to $135.3 million from February 2016 – the first time that has occurred since April 2009.
SMI AU/NZ managing director Jane Schulze said the release of the updated digital data today was a watershed moment as digital’s growth has been such a firm feature of the local Agency market.
“It’s quite a milestone as we’ve reported on the growth of the Australian Digital media for 94 consecutive months, and I don’t ever expect any other media to replicate that record,’’ she said.
“But we’ve also just released SMI’s NZ data for February and the trend was also similar there for digital with agency ad spend back 0.3 per cent in February.
“There has been plenty of recent widespread publicity of issues within the Digital media and clearly SMI’s media Agency partners are acting quickly on behalf of their advertiser clients to reassess Digital budgets,’’ she said.
Even when late digital bookings were included, SMI’s updated February digital data shows that most of the month’s decline was felt in the largest digital sector of content sites (websites that employ content creators to attract audiences) where spend fell by $5.9 million from last year’s February figure.
Bookings to the search websites were also down slightly (-1.6 per cent) while ad spend to the smaller sector of pure play – video sites had a higher percentage decline of 10.3 per cent. Ad spending onto social websites was flat for the month but programmatic spend jumped 35 per cent year-on-year.
The softer demand for digital ad spend coincided with SMI’s launch of a new digital-only database to provide even more detail on the updated Digital data at the end of each month.
Schulze said SMI subscribers were now able to see the updated data across all SMI data points, such as digital sector, digital ad format, digital buy type and website genre. All digital product category data – for more than 110 categories – is now also available fully updated in this database, with full history also included back to 2009.
As a result, it is clear the categories driving the softer demand in digital in February were the domestic banks (digital ad spend back 20 per cent), the other financial services category (back 15.4 per cent) and the toiletries/cosmetic category (digital ad spend back 21.4 per cent in February).
Also, as a result of late digital bookings, the initial 13 per cent decline in total market ad spend for February has been revised to a lesser decline of 6.9 per cent.