Game of Thrones Advertising in Paid Search

With the penultimate season of Game of Thrones beginning last night, AdGooroo decided to look at paid search advertising around the popular HBO show.

Examining U.S. Google desktop text ad activity on six Game of Thrones keywords from July 2016 through June 2017, we found 211 advertisers spent $3.4 million sponsoring the keyword group during the period, including terms such as  ‘game of thrones’, ‘game of thrones t-shirt’ and ‘game of thrones merchandise’, at an average cost per click of $0.87.
Unsurprisingly, the official site of the show,, gained the most clicks on the keyword group among all advertisers, achieving a 30.6% click share. However, it did so in only a two-month timespan over the last year; the site began sponsoring Games of Thrones keywords this May to promote the July 16 premiere of the new season.

Streaming Video Services Vie for the Iron Throne

We found three prominent streaming video services among the most clicked advertisers on Game of Thrones keywords, all promoting services to enable so-called cord cutters to watch HBO and the upcoming season live. AT&T’s DIRECTV NOW generated a 15.3% click share during the period, followed by Sony’s Playstation Vue (11.9% click share) and Amazon (7.5% click share) promoting its Amazon Channel service, which allows Amazon Prime members to subscribe to various cable networks as well as watch TV shows and movies on demand. There were also two other advertisers promoting streaming video services that figured among the most clicked advertisers, (3.1% click share) and (2.8% click share). However, both advertisers appeared to be promoting on-demand services to watch previous seasons rather than the new season as it airs live.

Pretenders to the Throne

Interestingly, two TV networks sponsored Game of Thrones keywords in order to promote different shows to viewers looking for Game of Thrones information. TBS gained a 1.9% click share with ads promoting the second season of the comedy People of Earth, while STARZ garnered a 1.5% click share on ads promoting its fantasy show American Gods.

Concert Tickets, Books, DVDs, Merchandise

Among other advertisers on the keyword group, Ticketmaster was the fifth most clicked advertiser on the Game of Thrones keywords, gaining a 5.7% click share on ads promoting a live Game of Thrones concert event.

Rather than offer the TV series, Apple’s iTunes site received a 2.8% click share promoting the Game of Thrones book series on its iBooks service, while the retail site Pristine Sales gained 2.2% click share selling DVDs of the series.

’s online retail store (1.8% click share), Target (1.3% click share) and (1.1% click share) all promoted Game of Thrones t-shirts and other merchandise in their paid search ads.  

Note: The results of this study are limited to U.S. Google desktop text ad activity on 6 Game of Thrones-related keywords from July 2016 through June 2017. Advertisers may be sponsoring additional keywords that, if measured, would alter the findings of this study.

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