Federal government spends record amount on digital advertising
The federal government spent a record amount on digital advertising in Australia last financial year, with growth in spending on new platforms outpacing all traditional media except for television.
Figures published by the Department of Finance in December showed total government advertising spending for major campaigns cost taxpayers $174.7 million in 2015-16, the highest levels since 2007-08 and up by nearly $70 million from the previous year.
Growth in digital advertising by government departments reached $57.4 million in the period, second only to television advertising spending at $66.6 million.
Departments and agencies are required to report all advertising campaigns costing more than $250,000 each year, with the report showing $36.5 million in combined newspaper, magazine and radio advertising in that period.
Digital spending more than doubled from 2014-15, when it made up $28 million.
The Australian Electoral Commission's pre-election advertising campaign was the most expensive single spend in the report, costing a total of $50.9 million.
Running between late April and the July 2 election, the campaign included information to encourage participation and explain Senate voting reforms. The total cost includes consultancy fees and advertising placement in ethic community and Indigenous media outlets. Digital spending for the entire campaign cost $13.6 million.
Elections traditionally cause larger annual advertising spending totals. Advertising for the 2013 federal election and West Australian Senate rerun cost $22.6 million, contributing to an annual total of $106.5 million.
The 2010 election advertising campaign cost $12.3 million, contributing to an annual total of $116.9 million.
Australian Defence Force recruitment advertising campaigns cost $31.4 million in 2015-16, including outlays of $13 million each for television and digital platforms.
Promoting the Turnbull government's National Innovation and Science Agenda cost $14.9 million, of which $8 million went to television and just $3.4 million was spent on digital platforms.
The campaign aimed "to help instigate cultural change by encouraging all Australians to share and commercialise ideas, take risks, and think about the steps they can take now to better prepare for the future, such as enrolling in science, technology, engineering and maths subjects," the report said.
A national campaign to reduce violence against women and children in Australia cost $13.4 million, including $5 million for television and $3.4 million for digital advertising.
Promoting the now axed Green Army program, a signature environmental legacy of Tony Abbott's government, cost $3 million in 2015-16, including $600,000 commitments for television and digital platforms.
More than $10 million was spent to promote the government's North Asia free trade agreements, highlighting deals signed with Japan, South Korea and China.
Spending for ethnic media across government cost $8.4 million, compared with $2.9 million in Indigenous outlets.
Federal government advertising spending peaked at $186.8 million in the 1999-2000 financial year.
The story Federal government spends record amount on digital advertising first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.