Broadcast television continues to miss a massive opportunity when it comes to finding its audience online through search data. While media agencies need to look well beyond the obvious digital properties to find the best online inventory to couple with TV buys, there is also a serious need for the show's official sites to improve their Web presence on desktop and mobile.
As networks sell TV and digital ad packages, and media buyers use digital inventory to extend offline buys, RankAbove has set out to analyze the Web sites that are most effective to extend the show's presence from offline to online.
It turns out that broadcast network Web sites like NBC.com, CBS.com and ABC.Go.com continually lost ranking in Google search queries to Wikipedia, individual TV show Wikia sites, and IMDb for top-ranking slots.
While searching for information on a show typically lands seekers on sites like Wikipedia, Wikia, or IMDb, Eli Feldblum, RankAbove CTO, said fans really influenced every show researched, but most fans' sites featured either no advertising or very little. Most instances of Pinterest, YouTube and Tumblr, which ranked very well, were fan-created content. Two fan sites -- Big-Bang-Theory.com and Big-Bang-Theory.net -- made the most influential list for the Big Bang Theory.
One of the greatest overlooked opportunities lies in related online Web publication. Feldblum said shows like "The Voice" can capitalize on advertising across sites like CountryWeekly. The relatively small CountryWeekly.com beat out every other music site, including MTV.com and Rolling Stone. He believes the ad space on smaller publications target a specific audience for less cost.
RankAbove, which sits on mounds of data, will run a similar test with mobile. In the past when they ran tests for clients to see where they rank, many of the networks are a little behind when it comes to mobile, Feldblum said. "They typically take a bigger hit on mobile until changes are made," he said. "I see the biggest differences in local searches and rich media search with images."
For this study, the company relied on its search software to determine the top 50 keywords for the most popular shows on TV, and to determine the overall highest-ranking pages for those keyword searches to create its TV SitePairing Index.
To discover the most influential sites for individual TV shows, RankAbove began with the list of the top 25 shows for the past week, as determined by Nielsen. Its software analyzed search engine results for an average of 3 million user searches per program, across a range of search categories related to show titles, actors, character names, and more, within the last 30 days. From the analysis the company compiled the top 50 keywords related to the show -- mostly terms or queries that fans are likely to use to discover more information about a specific show.
Keywords like show names, season and episodes as well as keywords about cast and characters were weighted based on their search volume, or how frequently each was searched in the past month. RankAbove collected the top 100 ranking sites for each keyword, and its technology determined how often a site appears, how high it appears in the search engine results page and by the weight of the keywords for which it appears.