Pearman Pulse


Borders Closed

As confirmed by the latest May 11 budget these factors are here due to Covid and we thought it would be interesting to review their effect on advertising spend.

Budget assumes borders closed until mid 2022. This has profound implications to the Travel & Tourism sector which naturally shackles the category. The A$5b cruise market is largely moribund, as only the minor domestic based vessel Cruise industry can operate. Although Australians will and are spending more on domestic travel, the advertising industry relies heavily on international travel.  Brands such as Flight Centre, Webjet, Helloworld, Scenic Tours and Luxury Escapes promote international travel and make up around 40% of all advertising spend in the Travel category.

The Travel sector has been within the top 5 SMI advertising categories for the last 7 years excluding FY20. In the last full pre-covid financial year, FY19,  Travel was the 3rd largest SMI category at $427m,  accounting for 6% of all Media expenditure. In FY19 it was also the 2nd largest growth category reflecting Australian’s travelling lifestyle.  At present, the travel category is around 60% down compared to pre covid. There is no reason to assume this will change until borders re-open for both Outbound and Inbound tourism. This equates to around 3.5% less Media expenditure which arguably cannot be replaced. $250 million temporarily gone impacts all media but Travel more heavily impacts Cinema, Newspapers & Magazines.

Population decline. The budget papers acknowledge Australia’s population by the end of 2022 will be more than 1 million down from the forecast in the FY20 budget. This is due to a combination of Migration, Seasonal Workers, & Students, all of which are pretty much closed for the next 15 months or more. The Budget papers say the net overseas migration will not return to positive until 2024/25, 4 years from now.  Australia’s economic growth for the past half decade or so has been largely fuelled by population growth and now we face the reverse (actual negative of near 100,000 ‘net overseas migration’ in FY21) . NSW and Victoria will be the hardest-hit states, losing 480,000 and 415,000 residents respectively, followed by Queensland (126,000). This will have an effect on and in the economy which directly affects client’s profitability and subsequently the advertising sector. For many Industries a large part of their growth is tied to the population growth. This will be hard to replace.

Debt. That four letter word. Australia now has substantial debt for both Government/s and Household. This was acknowledged in the Budget but played down on this occasion. It is definitely of concern that deficits are projected in until probably 2031/32

Australia, War years aside (WW1 + WW2),  has never been here before. Whilst a low interest rate regime is forecast out for around 5 years, interest rate rises on Australia’s mountain of debt pose a potential and realistic nasty problem.

Although household debt has seen a fall in our ‘Covid year’, there has been a long term climb and we are now in the top quartile of 22 advanced economies for household debt. When interest rates eventually rise it will have an effect on what consumers can or can’t afford to buy assuming many are at their lending limits.  Interestingly, the latest Retail Sales show Australians are spending like they’ve never done before.

Once the borders are open and the population rises things will be more positive although we will still have debt to be paid off.



A new Outdoor measurement system call ‘Move 2.0’ will launch in 2023 and although that’s a while away, it is the talk of Outdoor.

The present ‘Move’ tool was launched in 2012 and provides Reach and Frequency metrics for all major outdoor formats. It was a big innovation back in 2012 and was quickly followed by many static Outdoor sites being converted to Digital sites. Since 2012, the Outdoor industry’s advertising revenue has increased 40% ($650mil to $900+mil in 2019). The transition to Digital sites has no doubt been a major force for this increase however Move has also been a contributor. Move 2.0 is needed to keep up with the innovations within the Outdoor sector.

The issue is Move, in its current form, is missing one crucial element, Digital OOH. Digital screen advertising represents just over half (56%) of all industry revenue. The current methodology measures each panel as one static face, meaning that it does not take into account that most advertisers appearing on digital screens have a share of voice upwards of 1 in 6, reducing the audience ‘opportunity to see’ significantly. In addition, the audience data is currently only updated annually or on an ‘average typical week’. Consequently measurement does not account for seasonality or time of day and in turn how these factors influence both foot traffic and people movement. Your audience delivery for a campaign in the depths of winter vs the busy Christmas season will return the same result.

Move 2.0 will change this. It will model on Visibility Adjusted Contacts (VAC) opposed to Likelihood to See (LTS), as well as effective impact by reporting on the neuroscience of the contacts value. Move 2.0 will report on audience hourly, for 365 days of the year. It will survey metro and regional areas to have national market coverage and be able to distinguish between local residents and overseas travellers (hopefully by 2023 this data will be of value to us). The number of surveyed sign locations will increase from the current circa 70,000 to 100,000+.

No wonder it has taken some time to put together.  GPS and mobile data will play key roles in Move 2.0. The key data collection model will be a comprehensive Travel Survey using a GPS tracking device which will be validated by a daily movement diary both online and in app. This will provide detailed profiling and behavioural information. This survey will overlay several different data points from the transport network, ABS, mobile apps, location services, traffic counts, speed recovery, satellites and international visitor surveys to reach a combined activity and traffic based model that will calculate a more accurate Reach & Frequency.

2023 sounds like a long time to wait but will come around quickly and be a great measurement tool for the Outdoor industry.



Covid has significantly impacted our purchase and decision making behaviour mostly by the impossibility of accessing the products, brands and shopping experiences we were accustomed to.  One year later, cash seems to be dying and people are ever more confident in their e-commerce options.  Our Digital team’s advice for best practice e-commerce is;

Keep track of social listening platforms and your category search terms. This will ensure the right attributes of your products are portrayed as customers have become more adept at making quick determinations to validate a purchase decision. Some of the biggest rising trends in 2020 was a renewed love for Aussie made, craft and natural / organic products. Retailers who seized the opportunity and made these features easily accessible and prominent on their products and product descriptions saw a significant rise in demand and purchases.

Ensure value add. Promotions, discounts and added value are more important than ever.  With over 60% of Australian households impacted financially by Covid, consumers are more conscious about prices and offers. “Sales”, “discounts”, “free deliveries” and “free returns” have all seen a surge in searches and play an important role in swaying a customer decision in the online shopping options.

Make it easy, be the best option. With difficulty around product availability, consumers have become more adaptable and are ready to switch brands or products if it is not available when and where they need it.  On the other hand, product scarcity in 2020 will be considered and can accelerate purchase decisions. In these changing environments simple details such as updated contact details and opening hours, up to date product stock and availability such as social approval (testimonials, reviews etc.) can encourage or deter potential brand switchers or repeat purchasers.

Be consistent on every touchpoint. Covid has made consumers more keen for information, personalisation and immediacy through the rise in digital medium uses. They expect a consistent experience and have increasing demands regarding the number of touchpoints they want to be offered. Businesses that have not invested in developing an app or a functioning website and are not utilizing their first party data to enhance their customer experience are becoming less desirable.


As expected, the April21 figures are a whopping 39.7% up on April20 which was when the pandemic really began to affect advertising spend.  The month’s total was $584 million and although pleasing to see a YOY increase, it is still -8.3% lower than the April19 expenditure. In more good news, the SMI forward bookings for May21 are already 50.4% above that achieved in COVID-affected May 2020 (ex Digital).  Outdoor and Cinema are showing the most growth in the May & June months.

Not surprisingly, virtually all the Top 10 product categories had substantial increases. The only exception being Domestic Banks that had a -32.3% decrease compared to April20.  Perhaps they have enough business that they don’t need to advertise.  The big category increases included Gambling (up 157%), Restaurants (+77%), Food (+65%) and Government (+55%).  Interestingly Travel was up 221% but naturally off a very low base.

All the media had strong increases except for the Print category of Newspapers (-34.6%) and Magazines (-2.2%).  The Outdoor industry must be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel as advertising revenue was up 49% but still 30% down compared to April19.  Radio is faring better with a 38% increase and only 17% down on two years ago.  Television did very well with an additional $75m for the month and a 44.2% YOY increase. Television is line ball with their April19 figures. Digital had a 45.8% increase and compared to April19 the category is up 9%.


  1. The Queen’s actual birthday is 21st April 1926
  2. 21st June has the longest (in Nth Hemmisphere) & shortest (in Sth Hemisphere) daylight hours of the year
  3. The highest readership gains of any magazines are House & Garden +32.6% & Gardening Australia +34.5% (Morgan 12mths to Mar21)
  4. People currently alive represent about 7% of all people who have ever lived
  5. The coldest city on earth is Oymyakon, Russia with an average of -50
  6. Morgan says Australians are around 20% less likely to buy ‘Made In China’ vs a year ago