SMI Creates Digital Ad Spend Database For Australia’s Major Banks

SMI Creates Digital Ad Spend Database For Australia’s Major Banks

Advertising data group Standard Media Index (SMI) has announced the creation of the first bespoke industry database for Australia’s big four banks, delivering the transparency they require on digital media advertising expenditure.

SMI, which usually delivers real advertising expenditure data sourced from media agency payment systems, this time worked with the four big banks – ANZ, CBA, NAB and Westpac – to create a world-first database that shows the aggregate digital ad spend of these banks for the first time.

As a result, the banks now have their industry’s full digital media ad spend history for all digital sectors – such as search, social media, programmatic, content sites and video sites – as far back as 2008, and can also split each sector’s ad spend further into key ad formats, such as display and online video.

This data showed, for example, that while the four banks grew their combined ad spend on digital media by 5.8 per cent in the 2016 calendar year, the demand reduced significantly in the first quarter of 2017 – down 9.0 per cent from the same quarter a year prior.

The banks’ actual spend data shows this was mostly due to a large 33 per cent quarter-on-quarter fall in ad bookings to the search market (resulting in its share of bank ad spend falling to 20.2 per cent), with the only growth in the quarter coming from the smaller ad exchanges and social sites’ digital sectors.

Interestingly, the biggest area of growth in the digital media for the banks is affiliate marketing (mostly comparison websites), with that sector growing to 14.1 per cent of the banks’ digital ad spend in that year – up from 11.7 per cent in the 2015 calendar year – and in the first quarter of 2017, its market size grew as spending remained stable, while expenditure to other sectors fell.

SMI also worked with the banks to segment their ad spend into their own industry categories: brand/sponsorship, consumer banking, business banking and institutional banking.

Jane Schulze, managing director of SMI for Australia and New Zealand, said the lack of digital transparency was a large issue for the banks given half their advertising budgets are now allocated to digital media.

“As there was no alternative, the banks were relying on highly inaccurate estimates of their digital ad spend,” she said.

“But as anyone in the industry knows, it’s almost impossible to gain any level of accuracy when estimating digital ad spend, as you just don’t know from which pipe the advertising came, nor the costs involved.”

“But by collating the banks’ actual data in a highly secure fashion, we were able to deliver an interactive database which shows them exactly where the industry has been spending its digital ad dollars, and to show that split further across key marketing divisions.”

Schulze said this private database, which is only accessible by the banks and their media agencies, creates a foundation for further data development, as SMI could now further split the data by product-based campaigns, such as credit cards or home loans.

This is the second non-agency database created by SMI, as the company already operates a similar ad spend database for the news media industry called News Media Index. But this is the first created for an advertiser category.

“Many high value industries grapple with a lack of transparency in the media market, and SMI has committed itself to solving this issue in myriad ways,” Schulze said.

Some of the banks are now also keen to see the industry’s actual ad spend for all major media (total TV, total radio, total outdoor etc.), and SMI is now also working to deliver that detail to the banks.

Big four banks: actual digital sector shares
Digital sector Q1 2016 Q1 2017
Content sites 35.4% 38.8%
Pure play – search vendors 27.4% 20.2%
Ad networks/affiliates 17.1% 18.4%
Exchanges 7.2% 10.0%
Pure play – social sites 4.6% 7.1%
Pure play – Video 3.9% 3.3%
Production – digital/advertising 1.9% 1.5%
Pure Play – Mobile 2.4% 0.6%
Grand total 100.0% 100.0%


Big four bank consumer category: digital ad spend share trends
Consumer banking ad spend = 74.7% of Industry Total in Q1 2017
Industry category Digital sector Q1 2016 Q1 2017
Consumer Content sites 29.6% 35.4%
Pure play – search vendors 29.2% 23.9%
Ad networks/affiliates/EDM 21.1% 21.7%
Exchanges 6.9% 10.6%
Pure play (social sites) 5.1% 4.6%
Pure play (video) 4.1% 2.3%
Production – digital/adserving 1.5% 0.9%
Pure play – mobile 2.5% 0.7%
Consumer total 100.0% 100.0%


Big four bank/sponsorship category: digital ad spend share trends
Brand/sponsorship banking Ad spend = 15.7% of industry total in Q1 2017
Industry category Digital sector Q1 2016 Q1 2017
Brand/sponsorship Content sites 51.8% 44.4%
Pure play social sites 3.1% 20.4%
Ad networks/affiliates 4.9% 13.1%
Pure play – video 6.6% 10.5%
Exchanges 10.4% 5.1%
Production  digital/adserving 0.8% 3.4%
Pure play – search vendors 21.7% 3.0%
Pure play – mobile 0.7% 0.2%
Brand/sponsorship total 100.0% 100.0%



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