Procter & Gamble is Australia’s most prolific digital advertiser, spending just over $30 million on digital ads in 2021, according to data provided to The Australian Financial Review.
Australia’s top 20 digital ad spenders splashed about $400 million on ads across the digital ecosystem in 2021, according to data from Pathmatics.
The list is largely dominated by major global players, with the world’s biggest marketer, Procter & Gamble, which owns brands such as Oral B, Fairy, Gillette, and Olay, topping the list with a $30.06 million digital ad spend. PepsiCo was nearly $3 million behind, with a spend of $27.28 million.
Telstra is the first Australian-owned company to appear on the list, coming in at third place after it splashed $26.57 million on digital advertising. While the telco launched its first major brand campaign in 2016, the digital spend was focused more on ads involving the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G mobile phone and Telstra’s new cyber security device.
Optus owner SingTel was not far behind, with a spend of $25.254 million, and rounding out the top five was Mondelez International, the maker of Oreos, spending $23.653 million.
“2021 has seen another big uptick in Australian brands spending ad dollars on their digital marketing campaigns,” Pathmatics ANZ regional director Eugene Du Plessis said. “With a large proportion of the country in and out of lockdowns, the consumption of digital media went through the roof, forcing marketers to retool and adapt to a predominantly digital world.
“Procter & Gamble took the top spot, investing approximately $30 million this year on digital ads, tapping into consumer demand for home cleaning and hygiene products.
“Similarly, there’s a significant number of fast-food brands in the top 20, including Yum! Brands, Hungry Jack’s and Menulog, all reaping the benefits as Aussies took to online ordering during lockdown periods.”
Coles Group came in at sixth place by spending $22.735 million on digital ads while Yum! Brands, which owns KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell, ranked seventh with a spend of $22.416 million.
Major insurer IAG was not too far behind with a spend of $22.263 million.
“It should come as no surprise that retail outlets like Woolies and Coles also took top places and were recently voted the most trusted brands in Australia according to the Roy Morgan risk report,” Mr. Du Plessis said.
“This is testament to messaging in their ads this year, explaining shortages on essential items such as toilet paper during lockdowns and ads asking consumers to be respectful to staff during these periods.”
Woolworths spent $20.973 million on ads across the digital ecosystem, just ahead of Hungry Jack’s, which claimed 10th place with a spend of $20.594 million.
Panel of ad watchers
Pathmatics assesses ad spend across the digital ecosystem – websites and social media platforms – by collecting data through a panel of people who sign up to use an app to detect the ads they see in digital environments. Pathmatics then applies a “cost per mille”, or CPM – the cost an advertiser pays for 1000 views of an ad – obtained from Facebook’s public filings, or other public information, to estimate spending.
Falling outside the top 10 was the NSW state government, with a spend of $18.459 million, largely focused on COVID-19 messaging around stay-at-home orders, getting tested and vaccinated, as well as messaging to promote the Dine & Discovery program. While NSW government digital ads appeared on a range of news sites, including that of The Sydney Morning Herald, SBS.com.au, and news.com.au, according to Pathmatics, Facebook and YouTube accounted for most of the spend.
Foxtel spent $17.488 million to promote its businesses through digital advertising, mainly promoting its Binge and Kayo streaming services, with fellow News Corp brand news.com.au the largest allocator of spending followed by YouTube and Facebook.
Menulog spent $17.112 million, Microsoft splashed out $16.511 million and TPG Telecom invested $16.018 million in digital advertising.
Nestlé managed to outspend Amazon.com, by $15.97 million to $15.811 million. The Commonwealth Bank splashed $14.856 million and Chemist Warehouse spent $12.243 million.
Rounding out the top 20 spenders were Shopify Inc which spent $12.067 million.
Pathmatics also assessed the top spenders across financial services, consumer and packaged goods, pharma and healthcare, and non-profit.
IAG-owned NRMA Insurance was the top digital ad spender across the financial services category, spending $22.201 million.
According to Pathmatics, 62 percent of the $214 million spent on digital advertising in the financial services category went to Facebook.
Among the consumer and packaged goods advertisers, Mondelez’ Candy, Mints & Gum was the biggest spender, with a digital ad spend of $20.668 million. Of a total of $170 million spent by the sector on digital advertising, 62 percent was spent on YouTube, according to Pathmatics.
The top pharma healthcare advertiser was Chemist Warehouse, with a digital ad spend of $12.243 million. Of about $81 million spent by the category, 57 percent was spent on Facebook.
In the non-profit category, Amnesty International was the biggest spender, splashing $3.095 million. Of a total of $27 million spent on digital advertising, 82 percent was spent on Facebook.