Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 - Roy Morgan Research
From current affairs to employment prospects, cheap flights to cute cat videos — if it can’t be found on the internet, it probably doesn’t exist. But the worldwide web is not just a fathomless repository of information and entertainment — it’s also an increasingly popular medium for advertising. The question is, how effective is the internet as an advertising channel? Do Australians engage with advertising online?

According to the latest data from Roy Morgan Research, they do indeed. But the extent to which they engage depends largely on their age, with different generations* responding differently.

Accustomed to spending the most time online, Generations X and Y tend to engage more than other generations with advertising encountered while surfing the net on their computer or smartphone. In an average four-week period, 34% of the people who clicked through on online advertisements were from Gen X and 30% were from Gen Y. Baby Boomers accounted for 20% of the click-throughs.

Advertising activities done online in last 4 weeks


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2012 – June 2013 (n = 50,344).Base: Australian population 14+

Of Australians who watched advertising in online videos or TV, the largest group were Generation Y (37%), followed by Gen X (27%) and Gen Z (22%). Gen Y (33%) also comprised the largest proportion of people who clicked on sponsored links on search sites such as Google, while a higher percentage of people clicking through to company websites from online directory listings were from Generation X (38%).

Less likely to be heavy internet users, it’s not surprising that Pre-Boomers tend not to engage so actively with online advertising: in any given four weeks, this generation comprised just 9% of Australians who read an email newsletter and 2% of those who watched advertising in an online video/TV.

Generation Yphone

This ‘Generation Gap’ is all the more evident among smartphone users. Whether reading e-newsletters, looking up websites because of TV or watching advertising in online videos, Gen Y accounts for the greatest proportion of smartphone users engaging with any kind of online advertising via their mobile.

Advertising activities done online by mobile phone in last 4 weeks  smartphone users


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), July 2012 – June 2013 (n = 9,743)Base: Australian smartphone users 14+

*Generational definitions: Pre-Boomers: born pre-1946; Baby Boomers: 1946-1960; Generation X: 1961-1975; Generation Y: 1976-1990; Generation Z: 1991-2005

George Pesutto, General Manager, Media and Communications, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Having come of age in the digital era, it’s understandable that Generation Y would be the most active consumers of online advertising overall. For them, it’s normal, whereas Boomer generations are more accustomed to advertising via traditional media. Online advertising (especially e-newsletters and clickable online ads) is also an effective means of reaching the switched-on Gen X market.

“Generation Y owns more smartphones than the other generations, so the fact that they account for such a high percentage of people engaging in advertising-related activities via their smartphones is to be expected.

“Knowing who is most responsive to different online advertising activities and formats unlocks one more layer for marketers seeking to effectively target, retain and get the most returns from their advertising investment. Obviously, a 25-year-old watching an online video will respond to messaging differently from a 45 year-old e-newsletter subscriber. With the proliferation of ways to reach people via the digital platform, it is becoming increasingly important to be as targeted as possible.”

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Roy Morgan Research is Australia's best known and longest established market research and public opinion survey company. Roy Morgan Single Source is thorough, accurate, and provides comprehensive, directly applicable information about current and future customers. It is unique in that it directs all the questions to each individual from a base survey sample of around 55,000 interviews in Australia and 15,000 interviews in New Zealand annually - the largest Single Source databases in the world. The questions asked relate to lifestyle and attitudes, media consumption habits (including TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, cinema, catalogues, pay TV and the Internet), brand and product usage, purchase intentions, retail visitations, service provider preferences, financial information and recreation and leisure activities. This lead product is supported by a nationally networked, consultancy-orientated market research capability.
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