StubHub, Ticketmaster Among the Top Ticket Advertisers in Paid Search and Beyond

Today eBay announced it’s selling online ticket exchange company StubHub to international ticket reseller Viagogo for more than $4 billion. To assess advertising by ticket sellers in the United States, Kantar analyzed advertising by StubHub and three major competitors, Ticketmaster, Vivid Seats and SeatGeek, from January through October this year.

Kantar data shows Ticketmaster was the top advertiser during the period by far, spending an estimated $22.6 million in the first ten months of the year, followed distantly by StubHub ($14.6 million), Vivid Seats ($14 million) and SeatGeek ($6.4 million).

In terms of media mix, paid search advertising was a major focus for each of the ticket sellers, though to varying degrees. Vivid Seats and StubHub respectively spent an estimated 97% and 98% of their advertising dollars on paid search in the first ten months of the year, while SeatGeek devoted an estimated 70% of their ad spend to paid search.

Ticketmaster had a more varied media mix than its three competitors during the period. Kantar estimates Ticketmaster devoted 43% of its advertising to paid search while 47% of its ad dollars went to other digital formats such as display, 9% went to network television commercials and 1% to cable TV.

Top Paid Search Advertisers on Pro Sports Tickets

Given the emphasis on paid search advertising among the top ticket sellers, we decided to analyze paid search activity on a key category, professional sports tickets, in an effort gain insight into overall performance in the medium.

To do so, Kantar analyzed U.S. Google desktop and mobile click performance on 15 keywords related to tickets for three professional sports leagues currently in season, the NFL, NBA and NHL, from July 28 through November 16. Examples of keywords we studied include ‘nfl tickets’, ‘nba tickets’, ‘cheap nfl tickets’ and ‘nhl tickets’.

 Ticket Sellers

Although we observed 49 advertisers competing on the 15 pro sports keywords during the period, we found StubHub, Ticketmaster, Vivid Seats and SeatGeek largely dominated the field.

Vivid Seats led all advertisers, garnering an impressive 34.3% of desktop clicks and 30% of mobile clicks on ads displaying for the pro sports ticket keywords during the period.

StubHub ranked second in both search formats with a 21.7% desktop click share and a 21% mobile click share on the pro sports keywords, while Ticketmaster ranked third in both desktop (19% click share) and mobile search (13% click share).

SeatGeek ranked fourth in desktop search with a 10% click share but was knocked out of fourth place in mobile search by TickPick, whose 10.3% click share surpassed SeatGeek’s 9.1% click share.

For the remaining positions in the ranking, paid search competition on the NFL, NBA and NHL tickets dropped to single digits and lower, underscoring the paid search campaign performance of the four ticket sellers we focused on this report.

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