Education Sector On Track To Reach Near-Record Levels In Ad Spend: SMI

Education Sector On Track To Reach Near-Record Levels In Ad Spend: SMI
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Australia’s education marketers are midway through a stronger advertising assault in the third quarter of the 2017 year and now look poised to grow total category advertising expenditure close to the record levels it achieved in 2015, according to data from Standard Media Index (SMI).

In recent years, the SMI data shows the education sector has reduced ad spend in each of the past three second quarter periods in favour of higher third-quarter spending.

And that trend is certainly continuing in the third quarter of 2017, with SMI’s education category data showing the sector grew advertising expenditure by 88.9 per cent in July from the same month a year ago, and by 23.9 per cent in August.

Jane Schulze, managing director of SMI for Australia and New Zealand, said the largest category of education ad spend – universities – led the education market higher in both July and August, with its ad spend more than doubling in July and lifting by 44 per cent in August.

“Australia’s major education institutions are increasingly focusing their marketing spend on the Q3 period, with SMI reporting lower education-related ad spend in each of the last three second quarter periods, with these advertisers obviously building a war chest for a stronger push in the lead up to the year end,” she said.

Apart from universities, SMI also reports actual ad spend for the ‘vocational training/ other tertiary’ market, private and public schools, and the pre-school/childcare sectors. Education is the 24th largest category in the SMI category database.

“Schools also actively ramped up their ad spend in August, with the total growing by 57.6 per cent. Newspapers retain the greatest share of schools-based advertising, and also grew their level of schools’ ad spend by 8 per cent in August,” Schulze said.

The SMI data shows the education sector continues to spend the bulk of its advertising budgets on digital media, with this channel consistently accounting for more than 40 per cent of industry ad spend, followed by outdoor, TV and newspapers.

SMI: education category ad spend by major media
Media type 2016 (calendar year) Variance Variance
Digital 52,233,938 7,154,020 15.9%
Outdoor 22,141,978 -253,016 -1.1%
Television 14,579,646 -12,308,956 -45.8%
Radio 12,028,521 -923,372 -7.1%
Newspapers 14,575,276 -2,197,897 -13.1%
Magazines 6,101,740 -147,500 -2.4%
Cinema 2,387,191 352,242 17.3%
Other 290,753 -98,245 -25.3%
Grand total 124,339,043 -8,422,723 -6.3%

SMI AU August 2017 category data                                              

But while the education category grew its digital ad spend by 15.9 per cent in the 2016 calendar year, that level of growth has slowed in 2017, with the total category only growing digital spend by 3 per cent in the first six months of 2017.

However, the category continues to spend the majority of its digital budgets on search (still more than 30 per cent of total digital spend even though the total revenue has declined 5.6 per cent so far this calendar year), followed by spending on social sites ( up 11.6 per cent so far in 2017) and then the programmatic market ( up 48 per cent).

Total education advertising expenditure peaked in 2015 when the market collectively spent $132.7 million on advertising, according to SMI.

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