The Trade Desk: Two-Thirds Of Ad Budgets Wasted On Disengaged Internet Channels

The Trade Desk: Two-Thirds Of Ad Budgets Wasted On Disengaged Internet Channels
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine



The Trade Desk has found that the vast majority of Aussie advertising budgets are invested in online platforms where consumers are the least actively engaged.

The report seeks to better understand where Australian consumers find engagement and inspiration on the open internet, enabling marketers to identify opportunities that optimise their digital advertising budgets in the most effective way.

Key research findings include:

  • More Australians are engaged on the ‘open internet’, with over one-third (33 per cent) of consumers saying they feel informed and attentive while consuming content on these fast-growing platforms.
  • Yet, two-thirds of ad budgets are being spent on ‘walled gardens’, where consumers are zoning out.
  • Nearly half (46 per cent) of Aussies say they’re more likely to skip ads on walled gardens, including YouTube and other social media platforms. A further 52 per cent believe these ads are “listening” to them.

“Time is the most precious commodity we have, and Australians are becoming more intentional about where they spend it online,” said James Bayes, vice president of ANZ at The Trade Desk. “It’s these intentional spaces on the open internet that advertisers can forge meaningful consumer engagements. This is where Aussies are more engaged and far more likely to trust the ads they see”.

Not only are more Aussies engaged on the open internet, but they’re also spending more time there. Over a third (37 per cent) of 18-34-year-olds say their use of the open internet has increased, while another 32 per cent expect it to increase further. Among the same cohort, there was a nearly 50 per cent increase in time spent on podcasts and music streaming and a 36 per cent uptick for BVOD. Additionally, time spent on online games saw a 42 per cent rise.

“Advertisers who focus solely on walled gardens due to their sheer size are missing out on the broader spectrum of consumer behaviour. It’s crucial for advertisers to diversify their advertising strategies. The open internet is home to fast-growing platforms such as BVOD and digital audio, and it provides opportunities for more meaningful connections, offering greater precision to reach Aussies where they are most engaged,” added Bayes.

What is the open internet?

The open internet is where consumers can engage with free online content funded through advertising. It encompasses a vast number of connected TV (CTV) and broadcast video on demand (BVOD) platforms, digital audio and podcast networks, online gaming, websites, and apps. For advertisers, the open internet consists of all the places in which they can purchase digital advertising via independent media buying tools rather than relying on the tools of each individual walled-garden publisher.

What is a walled garden?

Walled gardens form the other part of the internet. They are closed ecosystems controlled by a few large tech companies. These companies own their content and distribution platforms while having full control of the technology used to target, place, and measure ads.

The research

The Trade Desk surveyed 2,002 Australian consumers in late 2023 on their online media habits, attitudes, and experiences. This sample is representative of key demographic factors such as age, gender, and income, and additional weights were applied to ensure that the sample was representative of the population. In tandem with the survey, qualitative interviews took place with a cohort of 14 industry experts.




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