Half of Australian marketers are withholding their budgeted advertising spend for the rest of the year, according to new research from Ipsos and the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), in a waiting game for more stability around COVID-19.

The study found that 68% of SMBs (small and medium-sized businesses) and 87% of large businesses still have marketing-related spending budgeted for the next six months. However, most businesses surveyed said that releasing the spending will depend on when retail locations, national and state borders re-open and when employees re-start regular work patterns. As a result, 50% of both large & small businesses have marketing budget sitting on the sides lines waiting to be committed at some point in the near future.

Notably, large businesses were found to be more committed to investing their marketing spend behind long term brand building in line with Peter Field’s message to marketers about the recommended 60/40 split between long- and short-term investment. In contrast, SMB’s have a much clearer priority towards short term sales focus.

The research also found that the trend towards online channels will continue and its share of total media spend will accelerate due to the current economic crisis. Consumer uncertainty caused by new lockdowns and COVID-19 hotspots will likely only exacerbate this as the population becomes less mobile. As a result, most Australian businesses are more likely to use and continue to use online paid media over traditional media.

In addition, the report highlighted that the biggest problem for businesses was cashflow: 85% of SMBs and 76% of large businesses claiming an average decrease in revenue for the first half of the year of 42% and 27%, respectively compared to the same period last year.

The Ipsos study surveyed 442 small, medium, and large businesses about the combined impact of the bushfires and COVID-19 have had on marketing spend and what their media preference would be in the next six months.

The findings come as the Standard Media Index (SMI) reported that the media agency-funded adspend market fell 14.7% for the financial year and 35.7% for the month of June.

Sourced from Mumbrella, AANA, Ipsos