Digital advertising picks up pace to near $13bn in 2021, up 35.8% in 2020

Gai Le Roy, Chief Executive Officer at IAB Australia

The Australian online advertising market is nearing $13 billion in calendar year 2021, a stunning 35.8% growth on the preceding year according to data from the IAB Australia Online Advertising Expenditure Report (OAER) prepared by PwC.

It follows two years of slow growth for the digital advertising industry, at 2.4% for 2020 and 5.6% growth for 2019 Video advertising retains the crown for the format driving the most growth in the market, up 48% year on year to reach $2.88bn.

Classifieds which was the hardest hit digital advertising revenue stream over the last few years, had a strong bounce back in 2021 rising 41.5% compared to 2020 to reach $2.2bn.

Digital transformation behind spike according to IAB

General display advertising was up 38.2% to reach $5.1bn, while search and directories increased 31.7% to reach $5.7bn. Gai Le Roy, CEO of IAB Australia made these remarks.

“The exceptional growth in the Australian digital advertising market in 2021 has been driven by mainly two key factors.  Businesses have accelerated their digital transformation and investment over the last two years, but we’ve also seen a resurgence in marketing spend by businesses to drive economic growth as we exit COVID lockdowns and restrictions.”

Retail retained the number one advertiser category, representing 16.3% share of the general display market up from 15.6%. The auto category dropped back in share yet again to 10.7% from 12.9% in 2020, however there are signs of slightly stronger auto investment in 2022.

Although the share of investment in content site inventory via programmatic didn’t change much for 2021, with total programmatic spend stable at 42%, investment via programmatic guaranteed increased largely, reaching 13% in 2021, 11% in 2020 and just 7% in 2019.

December quarter results from IAB report

  • Online advertising revenue for the final quarter of the 2021 calendar increased 21.3% compared to the December quarter in 2020, to reach $3.58B.
  • Classifieds bounded back with an increase of 43.4% supported by a strong employment, real estate, and second-hand car market.
  • The general display market was worth $1.47B up 21.3% versus the comparative quarter in 2020. Video inventory represented 55% of all money invested in the general display category and was up 25% versus the December quarter in 2020.
  • Connected TV represented 43% of content publishers video investment followed by desktop on 32% and then mobile at 25% in December quarter 2021
  • After a few false starts, travel industry ad spend picked up in the December to reach 4.5%, almost doubling the share in 2020, but still at half of the spend share it had in 2019.

About the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Australia

As an independent industry association with more than 150 members in Australia and nearly 9,000 globally spanning media owners, publishers, technology companies, agencies and advertisers, IAB works to align industry stakeholders to develop solutions for the issues faced by the market and develop standards that are integral to the operation of digital advertising.

IAB Australia works closely with other industry associations including MFA and AANA to help shape the rules of play, Australian Digital Ad Practices, mentorship, global tech and policy work, Tech Lab standards, standardising terminology and supporting the broad media.