BrandShare collective

How to Become an Advertiser on HBO’s Game of Thrones

Data, not scabbards
  • May 6, 2014, 9:07 AM EDT
  • Sponsored

Game of Thrones fans spend more time on digital media than television. Illustration: Carlos Monteiro

It's no secret that the HBO's series Game of Thrones is absolutely crushing its Sunday night competition, summoning an ever-growing army of loyal viewers in the coveted 18–49 demo. As if that weren't enough, it's also one of the most-discussed series on social media, per Nielsen social.

Given that evidence, Game of Thrones offers tremendous advertising appeal. But HBO's ad-free subscription model has long kept brands from directly reaching a show's audience. As for Game of Thrones product placement, you probably won't get far unless you manufacture scabbards or dragon saddles.

Luckily for data-savvy marketers, there's another way to catch the eye of the GoT faithful.

Check out "The Upfront Guide to Buying TV Smarter"

Advertisers and networks alike are flocking to second screens, where 75 percent of smartphone and tablet owners engage with content at least once a month while watching television. Yet even between episodes and seasons, brands recognize the value of targeting this premium, unreachable audience online, no matter where they are or what device they are on. 

In fact, Game of Thrones fans spend more time with digital media than television—nearly a quarter of them are online over 20 hours each week. Further, digital ads cost significantly less than traditional broadcast advertising, and they may be more successful anyway.

But that's only half of the equation. To really get inside the heads of Game of Thrones fans, advertisers should consider cozying up to big data with Collective's TV Accelerator.

Rather than cast a wide net to all seven million Game of Thrones viewers across all demographics, Collective makes it possible for brands to microtarget with mobile ads, display ads, Facebook ads and pre-rolls to the most sought-after viewer segments.

The TV Accelerator product leverages set-top box data from 25 million televisions, connecting the dots between television viewing behavior and online behavior, with the assistance of more than 20 third party data providers, including Rentrak. As many as 30,000 attributes are mapped to approximately 230 million unique profiles.

Nuanced data can also serve to challenge campaign assumptions. For instance, Collective's show index links what people are buying and researching online with what they're watching, which may lead to automotive advertisers steering clear of the Big Bang Theory while redirecting attention to shows more likely to attract new car buyers.

Even if HBO did offer advertising space, the slots would surely be cost-prohibitive for most businesses. Focusing on microtargeting and data-driven ads on second screens allows everyone to remain firmly in the game. Learn more in "The Upfront Guide to Buying TV Smarter":