Analysis: Australia’s digital marketing dominance presents challenges, opportunities

Australian digital marketing has started outspending and outperforming just about every other country in recent years: The country currently boasts one of the highest rates of per-user digital ad spend in the world. It’s also expected that by the end of 2018, Australian marketers will spend more than 50 percent of their advertising budgets on mobile and online marketing.

This news comes according to a recent marketing report published by Signal, an Australian firm that specializes in both digital and cross-channel marketing. When considered alongside the other insights that surfaced in this report — as well as related analyses of the Australian market in 2017 — it’s clear that Australia’s position at the head of the digital marketing pack presents both unique opportunities and unique challenges.

Let’s review some of the key takeaways around Australia’s emerging role as a leader in all things digital marketing, and what they mean for marketers both domestic to Oz and abroad.

Australia’s digital dominance, now and in the future

Several key insights emerged from Signal’s report that are of keen interest to any Australian marketer.

In addition to its overall edge in digital ad spend, Australia is fast becoming a leader in mobile advertising and e-commerce as well — since 2014, there’s been year-on-year growth of at least 50% for e-commerce purchases made on mobile devices in Australia.

The recently published analysis from Signal also gives weight and substance to similar reporting that has recently emerged from other Australian marketing firms. In an end-of-year report for 2017, the Melbourne-based analytics firm Zenith published some similarly remarkable stats about the state of digital marketing in Australia.

Zenith reports that by 2020, digital channels (including display ads, content marketing, and email) will account for more than 60 percent of all advertising spend in Australia. Digital marketing captured nearly 52 percent of all Australian advertising spend in 2017, which is far ahead of global averages for other advanced nations. In the U.S., by comparison, roughly 40 percent of all advertising dollars were spent on digital channels in 2017.

Analysts expect that Australia will maintain this world-leading status in digital marketing for the near future, making Oz one of the most exciting and competitive markets whether you’re a seasoned advertiser or a total novice. (Interestingly, the country’s dominance in digital marketing comes despite the difficulties the Australian government has faced in rolling out a national broadband system.)

A changing landscape presents new challenges

This exciting news is served alongside a heaping helping of caveats — Australia’s position at the forefront of global trends in digital marketing means they’re also first when it comes to facing new and completely unprecedented challenges that strike at their core of their craft.

While Australia has seen meteoric growth in digital advertising budgets, it has likewise seen a corresponding rise in the use of technology that distorts or outright blocks the content of these ads. According to Stripe’s report, some 81 percent of Australian consumers currently have a form of ad-blocking technology installed on their web browser or device.

Many Australian consumers see advertisements as irrelevant or annoying, and the analysts at Stripe predict that because of the prevalence of ad-blockers, as many as 1 in 5 consumers will see no digital ads at all over a 30-day span. Australia also has one of the lowest click-through rates when it comes to standard banner ads, with an estimated rate of only 0.06 percent.

Given how Australia is leading the world in digital marketing, it makes perfect sense that Aussies are likewise on the cutting edge of consumer attitudes. With the explosion of cases of ‘malvertising’ in recent years trust in digital ads is at an all-time low, and as elsewhere this sentiment holds true for Australians. (These trends will likely soon make their way to markets like the U.S. and U.K., especially the growing use of ad-blockers by consumers.)

Taken together, analysts project that almost 1 in 10 of every ad dollar spent in Australia is wasted, equaling a cumulative loss of about AUD $120 million per year.

How Australian marketers can win the digital-first future

These statistics are going to be troubling to Australian marketers who intend to stay the course in 2018. If your marketing plan is just more of the same of what you’ve already been doing, you’ll almost certainly see diminishing returns for your efforts.

However, the same reporting that brought these troubling trends to light also points to new growth opportunities, and highlights the potential for even small-time marketers to go toe-to-toe with the titans of their field.

With the increasing prominence of ad-blocking software cutting into the effectiveness of traditional digital marketing, advertisers would do well to take the time to invest in other high-performing channels like eBooks, webinars, and video content. These channels are seen as more trustworthy and engaging by consumers, and are therefore more likely to deliver solid ROI, although they do take much more time and effort to create in comparison to a simple PPC placement.

Indeed, more than 54 percent of respondents told Stripe that rather than be targeted for ads through their web-browsing and search history, they instead prefer to be served ads according to the videos they’ve watched. Savvy marketers should take this info to heart and research whether their advertising efforts would benefit from the purchase of pre-roll advertising on streaming sites like YouTube and Hulu, or on social channels like Twitter that serve ads alongside video content.

From the same reporting, we see that around 43 percent of Australians now spend the majority of their internet time on their smartphone, and that figure jumps to 61 percent when tablet-style devices are included in the calculus. With a similar rate of growth occurring in Australian e-commerce sales on mobile devices, it’s clear that phones and call tracking should be top of mind for marketers looking to make an impact and stand out from the crowd.

By taking a full-spectrum approach to your Australian marketing strategy, you’ll be well-positioned to succeed not only in 2018, but well into the future.

If you’re an Australian marketer ready to overcome the digital dilemma and take your marketing to the next level with advanced call tracking and analytics, you can start today: Start your free 14-day trial of CallRail, or request a guided demo.