How to fix your digital divide
By Jennifer StoddartThe Financial Review | December 30, 2018 12:20:00By Jennifer StoudonThe Financial Post | December 29, 2018 11:54:00AUSTRALIA’S digital divide is getting worse, but a new survey suggests the Government could be on the verge of a breakthrough.
The latest research from the Australian Digital Network (ADN) reveals that digital advertising spending in Australia is now up by more than half since the last time ADN asked the question in 2017.
In 2016, digital advertising spent in Australia totalled $3.3 billion, but in 2017, that figure grew by more $1.3 million to $3 billion.
The ADN found the biggest gains were seen in the digital media and online businesses, while smaller advertisers and social media brands have been hurt the most.
The results suggest the Government needs to consider an overhaul of its digital advertising policy to ensure the digital divide remains low, said ADN CEO Chris Williams.
“It’s clear that digital ad spending in the country has been growing in recent years and we know that digital media companies and advertisers are doing well,” Mr Williams said.
“But there’s no reason why the Government shouldn’t take the lead in addressing the digital divides in the industry, or look at ways to incentivise advertisers to be more digital savvy and engage with their audiences on a regular basis.”
We also want to ensure that there is no incentive for any advertising to be generated via mobile, tablet, desktop or on other mobile devices.
“Our advice is that the Government should focus on a policy that encourages digital engagement on all digital platforms and digital advertising on mobile, and then also look at incentives for advertisers to use other digital media platforms.”
Digital divideThe ADG survey found that digital ads were now used by 42 per cent of Australians, compared with 30 per cent in 2017 and 20 per cent four years ago.
Advertisers were also more likely to purchase digital advertising if they were on a mobile phone, and also in the home.
The majority of respondents said that the biggest digital divide was the divide between mobile ads and desktop ads, with about a quarter of respondents choosing desktop as their preferred digital platform.
“There’s been a lot of attention given to the mobile advertising divide over the last few years, particularly over the past few months with the announcement of the government’s Digital Agenda,” Mr Wilkins said.
The new ADN survey also found that mobile advertising spending is growing at a faster rate than desktop ad spending.
About 80 per cent are mobile-only ads, compared to about 65 per cent desktop ads.
“Mobile is the biggest growth area for digital advertising, with an average of $10.8 billion a year in mobile ads,” Mr Mr Williams noted.
“More and more people are using their smartphones as their primary means of digital advertising and, because of this, mobile advertising is growing faster than desktop advertising.”
Advertiser choiceThe ADF found that advertisers were much more likely than ever before to purchase their advertising on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, with 81 per cent choosing Facebook and 42 per-cent Snapchat.
“This suggests that the digital advertising market is rapidly becoming a mobile-first market,” Mr Gillett said.
Ads that have gone viralA second survey from the ADG also found a growing number of advertisers have gone online to promote their ads.
Advertising on social media platforms, such as Instagram and Facebook, increased by nearly a third in 2017 to $6.7 billion.
“Advertising spending on Facebook and Instagram is increasing by nearly two-thirds since 2017, as more and more businesses are leveraging these platforms to promote the brands they sell,” Mr Stoud on behalf of the ADN said.
While social media advertising revenue grew by $5.4 billion in 2017 in Australia, it was down by $1 billion compared with the year before.
“While there is certainly a growing market for online advertising, there are also growing pressures on the advertising industry to provide a more sustainable and competitive service,” Mr Harris said.
In 2017, advertisers spent more than $3,300 on digital advertising in Australia.
“The majority [of digital ad spend] is going to be on mobile devices,” Mr Pannell said.
“We need to be thinking more strategically about the digital ad space and the digital audience that advertisers want to reach.”
Ads are not the only thing going viralOn average, Facebook users spent $16,000 on ads during 2017, up from $12,500 the year prior.
Ad users also used their mobile phones more often, with nearly two thirds of users logging on to Facebook from their mobile phone in 2017 compared with just over half in 2016.
The most common reason for mobile advertising to occur online was that the ad had been shared on Facebook.
“Social media is a great way to reach out to your audience and promote brands.
But we also need to take our advertising to a digital level,” Mr Tugwell said.