Despite declining viewership, the Oscars are attractive to advertisers

Among advertisers, the Oscars are sometimes called the “Super Bowl for women.” The Audience Map from entertainment trade publication ShowBuzzDaily reveals that the Academy Awards’ massive popularity among women of all age groups always exceeds viewership for any other major award show.

However, an overall drop among adults 18 to 49, largely due to young people and conservative viewers not tuning in to Hollywood award shows anymore, led to a decline from 37.3 million viewers in 2015 to 26.5 million in 2018.

Yet, the Academy Awards are still the second biggest TV event after the Super Bowl and therefore continue to be very attractive to advertisers. They’re so attractive that ABC can charge between $2 million and $3 million for a 30-second ad.

Award show commercials lead to increased search traffic

As digital marketers, we are especially interested in how TV ads and online search work hand in hand. After all, it’s a multi-screen world, and that does not only include smartphones, tablets and desktop computers, but also TV screens.

Here are some examples of how commercials during the 2018 Oscars affected search behavior, based on data from Google Trends.

  • Walmart ran an ad for their new delivery service. The next day, Google searches for Walmart’s service jumped 40%.
  • Nest had a similar success story – searches for a new product, Nest Hello, doubled after an Oscar ad.
  • For Cadillac, March used to generate the most organic traffic due to their sponsorship with the WGC Championship (PGA), but in recent years the Oscars are the event that lead to the most Cadillac-related search interest.

How can award show advertisers make the most out of their ad spend?

It’s a mobile-first world. According to Google, up to 80% of TV-inspired searches happen on mobile. Therefore, Academy Award advertisers are well-advised to deliver a flawless mobile experience that goes along with their commercials.

That means that online content needs to be optimized, both in terms of technical SEO as well as search phrases, in order to be indexed and ranked in search engines:

  • Sites need to be mobile-friendly, fast-loading and responsive, i.e. they need to be able to load in less than 5 seconds and adjust to different screen sizes.
  • Online experiences need to be rich in content and provide search engine users valuable information that supplements the TV commercial and that will give them anything they need to know to make a purchase decision.
  • Content needs to be online several days before the event to give search engines time to crawl and index new pages. A thorough SEO audit before and after launching new content is strongly advised to identify and fix any bugs before the commercial airs.
  • Alternatively, TV commercials could be combined with a Paid Search strategy to achieve instant visibility for a very large number of possible search queries.

Mobile-supported TV advertising can fuel a brand’s next big marketing moment. If you need assistance with your search strategy and execution, contact our experts today!


Background photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash