NZ digital revenue hits $1 billion in 2018

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AUCKLAND, Today: Total digital revenue in 2018 reached $1.058 billion following four consecutive quarters of double digit growth, up almost 15% year-on-year.

The data was drawn from the IABNZ’s Digital Advertising Revenue Report released this orning by the IABNZ and Staples Rodway, which also confirmed that Q4 revenue reached $292.4 million, representing year-on-year growth of 14%, and surpassing Q3 growth on the same period last year, of 13%.  

Search revenue reached $659.5 million in 2018, and together with Classified and Directories, they continue to dominate, combined achieving over 80% of total revenue in 2018, with growth of 22% and 10% year-on-year respectively, and relatively consistent with performance in the December quarter.

For the year, within the Total Display category, growth was underpinned by Native at 60% proving that it has become an important component of many advertisers’ marketing repertoire. Sponsorship followed, at 32%, and Video at 16%.

Audio also performed well, with year-on-year growth of 84.6%, albeit off a much lower base.   


  • 2018 $1.058bn (15% year-on-year growth) 
  • Q4 $292.4m (14% year-on-year growth)
  • Q4 Search revenue $185.0m, 63% of total revenue (20% year-on-year growth)
  • Q4 Classifieds and Directories revenue $51.9m, 18% of total revenue (11% year-on-year growth)
  • Q4 Total Display revenue (all devices) $43.7m, 15% of total revenue (4.8% year-on-year increase)
  • General Display revenue, $22.1m (14% year-on-year decrease) 
  • Video revenue $11.3 (19.3% year-on-year growth)
  • Native revenue $7.8m (44% year-on-year growth)
  • Sponsorship revenue $2.2m (69% year-on-year growth)
  • Audio revenue $0.3m (36.4% year-on-year growth)  
  • Q4 Social Revenue $11.37m, 4% of total revenue (11.5% year-on-year decrease)

The largest shift in Display revenue by advertiser category was Real Estate, recording a year-on-year increase of 134%. 

“Programmatic growth is a good sign advertisers are more confident in the transparency of their agency relationships.”

Mobile revenue (all devices) generated $21.7m, 7.4% of total revenue (7% year-on-year growth) in the December quarter; of this, Smartphone revenue reached $19.1m or 6.5% of total revenue and achieved 6% year-on-year growth. Total mobile however, achieved growth of 24% year-on-year in 2018, of which Smartphone’s growth was 26%.    

Programmatic revenue, sourced from Standard Media Index (SMI) which is agency spend only, and net of Google Ad Manager, realised $23.4m in the quarter, or 53.5% of Total Display revenue. It grew by over 46% in Q4 year-on-year, and 41% across the entire year with 2018 revenue reaching $74.3 million.

Future State Consultancy director Richard Thompson said: “As programmatic media normalises in the industry, it’s no surprise to see its growth in popularity for advertisers. The initial hype around programmatic has fallen away and we’re left with the original premise that more efficient and effective media targeting will drive better outcomes for advertisers. We also see the growth in programmatic as a good sign that advertisers are becoming more confident in the transparency of their agency and technology relationships.”

“Social media revenue recorded $11.7m in Q4 (4% of total revenue), and decreased 11.5% year-on-year. Currently we use SMI data to measure social media revenue, which only incorporates a part of New Zealand agency revenue and not direct. We are reviewing our methodology to better measure Social media revenue, which will be incorporated in the next IABNZ Digital Advertising Revenue Report for Q1 2019.

“The IABNZ’s quarterly Digital Advertising Revenue Report is compiled from a survey conducted independently by Staples Rodway on behalf of IABNZ each quarter. The results reported are considered the most accurate measurement of online advertising revenue since the data is compiled directly from information supplied by companies selling online advertising. All-inclusive, the report includes data reflecting online advertising revenue from 16 New Zealand online publishers across their websites and commercial online services.

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