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Australia’s Four Pillar Banks Gain Digital Ad Spend Transparency

Standard Media Index (SMI), the advertising intelligence company bringing clarity to advertising expenditure, today announced it has created the first bespoke industry database for Australia’s Four Pillar 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% in CY2016, by the first quarter of 2017 the demand reduced significantly with the Q1 2017 total back 9.0% from the same quarter in 2016.

The Banks’ actual spend data shows this was mostly due to a large 33% quarter-on-quarter fall in ad bookings to the Search market (resulting in its share of Bank ad spend falling to 20.2%), 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% of the Banks’ Digital ad spend in that year, up from 11.7% in CY2015. 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.

SMI AU/NZ Managing Director Jane Schulze 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. 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,’’ she said.

“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.”

Ms 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,” Ms 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.

Standard Media Index is now a Guideline company

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