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Does anyone pay attention to online advertising?

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

Click here to view our extensive range of Media Profiles, including Internet users,website, and Masthead Readership. These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

For comments or more information please contact:

George Pesutto

General Manager, Media and Communications

Office: +61 (3) 9224 5206

Mobile: +61 414 686 987

Please click on this link to the Roy Morgan Online Store

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%