Study: 3 key audience segments to inform 'Game of Thrones' marketers' strategies
- In order for marketers to make the most out of the last season of HBO's "Game of Thrones," they first need to understand the show's audience and specifically three distinct viewer segments, according to a new study by MiQ shared with Marketing Dive. By analyzing TV viewing behaviors and online interactions, MiQ built a clustering report of 140,000-plus U.S. households and segmented fans into the Lannisters, Targaryens and Starks in names that reference the leading families on the show.
- Lannister fans are the most passionate followers, actively engaging with the show across multiple channels, including TV, social media and online fan pages and discussion forums. Lannisters tend to be younger — 52% are under 35 — female and affluent, with 53% possessing a household income of $100,000 or more. Avid tech consumers and followers of celebrities, sports and high-end fashion, Lannisters are also the most easily reached via home or work PCs.
- The Targaryens are an equally male and female audience with income between $75,000 and $100,000. They over-index toward sports and tech content and are more likely to shop discount fashion retailers and watch syndicated broadcast shows like "Friends," "NCIS" and travel and leisure programs. The Starks make up 43% of the total "GoT" audience but account for only 12% of viewing time. They are less invested in the show, with only 3% visiting or participating in online discussions. Starks are predominantly male at a ratio of nearly 2:1, with 58% under the age 35. Starks' household income is lower and they over-index to online and TV news content. Starks are interestingly also mobile-first and average 17 impression opportunities a day, eight being mobile.
Marketers have jumped on the "Game of Thrones" bandwagon in droves as the program has become a dominating pop cultural force, but reaching fans can sometimes be difficult since the series runs without ads on HBO and the premium network's various streaming services. The MiQ study looks to assist marketers in reaching some of the most engaged demographics. In particular, women comprise a majority of "GoT's" wealthiest viewers, as per the Lannister breakdwon by MiQ, with an interest in brand categories like luxury fashion.
Yet women have continued to be overlooked by marketers looking to capitalize on "GoT's" popularity. For example, recent buzzy brand integrations and themed advertising from Oreo, Adidas and Mountain Dew all largely boosted targeting to men, according to a recent study by BrandTotal. Meanwhile, Statista found that 52% of all social media mentions about the show were from women, pointing to a missed opportunity.
MiQ offering differing pictures for fans' behavior based on age, income and more could help marketers cut through some of the noise as the show overtakes the online discussion. Socialbakers has called activity around "GoT" a social media phenomenon. In the 30 days leading up to the April 14 final season premier, Instagram saw over 13 million "GoT" post interactions and added 800,000 new followers, per an analysis from the firm shared with Marketing Dive. Tweets have risen every year, with this preseason period hitting 2,250,000 interactions.
As "GoT" airs its last episodes, the series has overall offered lessons on how marketers can leverage commercial-free TV — only becoming more popular in the era of streaming platforms like Netflix — for their own advertising advantage. In an analysis shared with Marketing Dive, Kantar spotlighted Bud Light's tie-in with HBO around the Super Bowl, which became one of the standout spots of the big game this year. Bud Light has continued to nod the series in more recent campaigns that debuted close to the final season's premiere, helping to extend brand buzz.
"This isn’t new," Anne Hunter, EVP of strategy and growth at Kantar, said in emailed comments. "'Sesame Street' really started the commercial-free TV merchandising innovation, but 'Game of Thrones' has evolved it for the streaming generation."