Media intelligence platform AdClarity has tracked the digital advertising expenditure of the Australian federal and state governments on COVID-19-related messaging.
A news report citing the AdClarity research noted that collectively, they spent more than A$14.9 million ($10.9 million) on COVID-19-related digital ads from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to June 2021.
About 92% of their pandemic-related ads spends were made last year, while A$1.2 million ($882,000) were spent in the first half of 2021, mostly on COVID-19 vaccine-related messaging.
The federal government was found to have spent A$6.7 million ($4.9 million) on COVID-19-related digital ads, while the state government of Victoria was the biggest spender at A$7.3 million ($5.4 million) or almost half of the total spends.
Another interesting finding is the federal government "almost exclusively" placed COVID-19 vaccine-related ads on Facebook. Among government agencies, it has spent the most on vaccine ads since January this year, cornering the biggest share of the over A$1.1 million spends.
Moreover, the news report cited AdClarity data showing that the Australian Department of Health's "Coronavirus (COVID-19) health alert" campaign drew 480 million impressions, while the Victorian government's "Coronavirus (COVID-19): Important information for Victorians" campaign garnered 460 million impressions.
THE LARGER TREND
Ahead of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Australia earlier this year, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced in December a A$23.9 million ($17.6 million) budget for the government's vaccine communications, including an information campaign to "explain the regulatory processes, the priority groups, timing and roll-out to assist people to understand how the vaccines work, and to be ready for when they can receive the vaccine".
In the same month last year, the Finance Department released a report on the government's campaign advertising which noted that the Health Department spent A$47.8 million ($35 million) for its COVID-19 Health campaign, one of the largest spends among government campaigns. The federal government spent a total of A$128 million ($94 million) on ads in 2019-2020.