SYDNEY: As Australia approaches Election Day, new research has revealed that an estimated 85% of voters have yet to see an online election ad.

Programmatic company TubeMogul, which surveyed 10,000 Australians of eligible voting age, revealed in B&T Magazine that of the 15% who have seen an online election ad, a third couldn't relate to the message at all.

The research raises questions around how political parties can best target Australia's digital first voters, as they spend less time reading newspapers and watching party political broadcasts or debates on television.

"Without investment in digital, political strategists risk their messaging and ads not getting seen and resonating," said Sam Smith, TubeMogul's Australia and New Zealand manager.

"If political advertisers decide to invest online, they need to ensure that viewability is measured and that they are confident in the reporting," he added.

Earlier research from YouGov and Mumbrella indicated that the voting decisions of more than half of adult Australians could be swayed by political advertising, a figure that rose to 70% among 18-24 year olds.

Australia's media ad spend spiked at A$622m in May on the back of government departments preparing for the election season, although digital spend still lags behind television.

Regional media in Australia also enjoyed a spending boost with investment in regional radio and press higher than in Australia's major cities.

According to data from SMI, Government adspend was the second largest category for media spend in May, with total spend more than doubling from the previous year, to A$52.3m.

TV took more than a third of spend (35%) followed by digital (27.4%); press (13.6%) and radio (12.4%) were further behind, but still commanding significant investment.

Data sourced from B&T; additional content by Warc staff