It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's the Top Halloween Costumes of 2015 in Paid Search Advertising

It looks like we really can be heroes just for one day. And that day is October 31.

AdGooroo examined Text Ad and Product Listing Ad spend on 2,892 Halloween costume keywords on U.S. Google AdWords Desktop/Tablet from August through September and found there are going to be a lot of caped crime fighters on the streets this Halloween. Of the $5.7 million that Paid Search advertisers spent on the keyword group during the period, a full $1.1 million or 19% went to sponsoring superhero costume keywords.

The Top 20 costumes by Paid Search spend gives an indication of which superhero characters will be showing up at your door.

Halloween 2015 Top Costumes

Wonder Woman was the #1 costume with $161,595 in Paid Search spend from August through September, followed by Batman ($136,692) and Catwoman ($127,076). The other comic book heroes in the Top 20 ranking include Captain America with $89,218 in spend, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ($81,245), Spider-Man ($76,592) and Black Widow ($68,712).

For searchers unsure of which character they want to be, advertisers also spent $77,874 during the period sponsoring 68 different general ‘superhero’ keywords such as ‘female superhero costumes’ and ‘adult superhero costumes’.

Marvel vs. DC

The longstanding fan debate over which is better, Marvel Comics or DC Comics, appears to be settled when it comes to Halloween costume preferences. Advertisers spent more than $592,000 sponsoring costumes for ten of the most popular Time Warner-owned DC characters (including Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, the Joker and Harley Quinn) compared to $355,000 on ten top Disney-owned Marvel character costumes (including Captain America, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Iron Man and the Hulk). Of course, that still doesn’t tell us who’s stronger—Hulk or Superman.

Frozen? Consumers Let It Go

What a difference a year makes. Halloween 2014 was dominated by costumes from the Disney film “Frozen”, including Elsa, Anna and Olaf. Paid Search spend for “Frozen”-related keywords, in fact, accounted for a whopping $550,000 in August and September 2014. However, Paid Search spend on the same “Frozen” keywords dropped by 87% in August and September this year, to just $73,000. And while that is still enough to make the Top 20 costumes, it appears that the “Frozen” craze hit its peak in 2014 and is on the decline (at least until they put out the sequel).

Disney's Other Franchise Players

In addition to the Marvel and Frozen properties, the Top 20 costumes this year was again populated by a host of other Disney-owned popular entertainment brands and characters. Those include Minnie Mouse ($122,405), the Alice in Wonderland characters Alice ($108,205), Queen of Hearts ($65,818) and Cheshire Cat ($60,714), Disney Princesses ($86,967), and general Disney keywords ($66,889) such as ‘adult disney costumes’ and ‘disney Halloween costumes’. Also included in the Top 20 are the Disney-owned Star Wars Stormtrooper ($88,772) and general Star Wars keywords ($86,656). Total spend on all Star Wars costume keywords, including characters like Darth Vader, came to $291,000 during the two months.

Traditions Continue

Although three-fourths of the Top 20 Halloween costumes are branded pop culture characters, non-branded costumes still made the ranking as well, including Little Red Riding Hood ($93,524), Dinosaur ($64,000) and Mermaid ($58,541), as well as the traditional Halloween costumes, Pirate ($89,807) and Witch ($63,918).

Incidentally, we’d be willing to bet the only Top 20 costume you won’t see on an adult this year is Dinosaur. In fact, in keeping with another Halloween tradition, we found various levels of spend on a number of 'sexy' versions of the Top 20 costumes, including 'sexy pirate' ($17,055), 'sexy witch' ($6,406), 'sexy catwoman' ($699), 'sexy little red riding hood' ($341), 'sexy queen of hearts' ($213) and even 'sexy frozen costume' ($123).

Least Popular Costumes

Once again we steel ourselves for another look at some of the least popular costume keywords based on Paid Search Spend in August and September.

Halloween 2015 Least Popular Double

It appears that men are not interested in showing up to Halloween parties in a kilt or bunny costume this year, while women will shy away from dressing as Chewbacca or one of the Game of Thrones characters (especially if it's Cercei during her walk of shame last season). And although many toddlers act like Napoleon, few apparently want to go as him this Halloween.

We were surprised to find the hero of one of television’s top-rated shows among the least popular costumes, but sure enough the somewhat inelegantly-phrased keyword ‘walking dead costume rick’ only generated $18 in Paid Search spend in August and September. We were less surprised to find ‘kardashian costume’ on the list.

And finally, in what is no doubt an indicator of our nation’s good taste, you are not likely to encounter many costumes depicting figures marked by controversy this year, including Bill Cosby, the dentist who killed Cecil the Lion, or Tom Brady and his deflated football.

Top Advertisers - Makes a Big Entry

To provide a view of the top advertisers on the 2,892 Halloween costume keywords, we looked at Share of Clicks for Desktop Text Ads and Product Listing Ads during August and September.

It was a virtual three-way tie for Share of Clicks in Text Ads for August and September, with’s 10.23% click share just edging out Target (10.18%) and (10.13%).

Halloween 2015 Text Ad Click Share AdGooroo

The difference in Click Share for Product Listing Ads was more pronounced., the July- launched site that’s been the subject of much attention lately, has already made serious inroads in the Halloween costume market, generating a 17.4% click share for Product Listing Ads in August and September, followed by Walmart (14.2%) and Target (13%). For the usual players in the Halloween costume retail sector, that means having to contend with a serious new player in the field.

Halloween 2015 PLA Click Share AdGooroo

 Note: The 2,892 keywords studied in this report are not inclusive of all Halloween costume-related keywords being sponsored on U.S. Google AdWords. The advertisers cited in this report may be sponsoring additional Halloween costume-related keywords that, if measured, would alter the report’s figures.

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