IAB December quarter 08 figures released

Ben Shepherd writes: The IAB/PWC report that covers the December 08 quarter has been released and the figures are pretty strong, showing the online channel (as defined by the IAB – which effectively means Internet only from the looks of things) held up well against the rest of the media world in the last quarter of the year.

Personally, I thought the industry would experience minimal quarter on quarter growth when comparing Q3 to Q4 last year … mainly due to economic woe but also the Olympics and economic positivity (at the time) driving a boom Q3.

The report is here – http://www.iabaustralia.com.au/IAB%20Online%20Advertising%20Expenditure%20Report%20-%20Dec%2008%20(2).pdf

Lara Sinclair of The Oz covers it here (and interviews my esteemed co-author Mr. Liam Walsh) – http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,28124,25025679-7582,00.html

So what’s the situation?

Well – display revenues were up 27% year on year, up to $130 for Q4 2008 and $465m for the calender year 2008 (from $367m the previous year)

Quarter on quarter display was up 4%, from $126m to $130m. This is pretty much zero growth I would say but that was to be expected. The winners in Q4 were Finance (up over $2m quarter on quarter) and Entertainment (up over 1.5m quarter on quarter – driven by strong spend increases in Music and Movies). The main losers were Auto (down $3m quarter on quarter) and Technology (down over 1m quarter on quarter).

The Q4 Quarter on Quarter growth for display is the lowest since 2002.

Search was up 27.3% year on year. Search Q4 spend was $224m, up 5.7% on the previous quarter. This is search’s lowest Quarter on Quarter growth on record.

One of the more interesting takeouts is that display has increased it’s relative share of the total Internet ad spend over the past 12 months – despite the doom that the display market is bleeding. The question remains, how much of this growth is being driven by display advertising networks such as Drive, Adconion, ninemsn’s MSDR and publisher performance products?

What are my thoughts? The results are good but online is still too dependent on Finance, Auto and Technology and isn’t making much ground up on the other categories it needs to charm.

FMCG, Media and Retail are still not embracing online … Entertainment and Leisure could invest more as well. It is the job of the IAB to assist this – as it is clear publishers and media agencies are failing in their efforts thus far. The only concern I have is how exposed the Internet  continues to be economic health of the Auto, Travel and Finance industries.

It also doesn’t help when people like Gerry Harvey come out publicly and trivialise their online efforts so far (“It would be so minuscule it wouldn’t be worth talking about,” ) – http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/business/story/0,28124,25025680-7582,00.html

Liam writes: Couple of things.

It is time the size of the tail was revealed along with the number for performance. The latter is important given it is growing very fast. We will tackle this through the IAB.

Secondly, I dont think Gerry’s comments should upset anybody. It should be a great intellectual challenge and shows we have a ways to go on proving our worth. Regrettably Gerry will probably come to view online as a direct response channel only unless we make a consolidated effort to get to him to change his mind.

Once he hears about re-targeting I am sure he will change his mind:)

After all, it is only after you visit Harvery Norman’s site, then stare in disbelief, that you go somewhere else to buy it.


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