social media

Brands Shift Targeting Toward Males For 'Game Of Thrones' Social Ads

Social media are, of course, a big part of the marketing frenzy surrounding the upcoming debut of the final season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones.”

So who are advertisers targeting with social?

Despite data showing 52% of all social media mentions related to ‘GoT’ during its seventh, penultimate season were generated by women, brands are primarily targeting young males with their final-season ads, according to a report from BrandTotal.

Brands “may be missing an opportunity” as a result, says BrandTotal CEO Alon Leibovich. They “should be taking this data point, along with the show’s largely female-led story lines and continued fan growth, into account when determining their targeting structure for cobranded campaigns of this size.” 



The competitive intelligence platform analyzed all paid U.S. social ads with ‘GoT’ collaborations from Oreo, Adidas, Urban Decay, Mountain Dew, Johnnie Walker, John Varvatos and AT&T during the last 30 days. It compared them with the existing non-‘GoT’ campaigns that are running in parallel. 

Among the findings:

*Oreo — which normally splits its ad targeting 69% male/31% female for general awareness campaigns, aiming 27% of its ads at users 25-34 — shifted to 79% male, with 37% of ads aimed at that age range. 

*Adidas traditionally targets ads to 71% male/29% female, aiming 30% of all of its ads to the 25-34 demographic. For its “GoT” campaign, it went 89% male, with 37% at that age group. 

*Mountain Dew shifted from its usual gender split of 58% male/42% female within ads aimed at the 25-34 segment (which usually comprises 18% of its total audience), to 71% male and 27% in the 25-34 segment. 

*AT&T, which has also been running March Madness campaigns, slightly upped its targeting to men for its "GoT" ads — from 63% to 70% — with just a 2% increase in ads aimed at males 25-34. 

Looking at platform strategies, BrandTotal data also show most of the brands adding up on Facebook for "GoT," in comparison to their usual platform strategies for paid ads. 

Adidas’ usual social-campaign mix is 80% Facebook, 20% Instagram. For "GoT," it moved to 100% Facebook. 

AT&T, which generally targets 63% of campaign ads to Facebook — with 22% on Instagram, 8% on Twitter and 7% on YouTube — also went to 100% Facebook for "GoT." 

Mountain Dew upped its usual 70% Facebook allotment (with 24% YouTube and 6% Twitter) to 97% Facebook. 

Favoring Facebook so heavily, instead of putting significant emphasis on Instagram — whose largest user segment is males 18 to 24 — could also result in less-than-optimal results, notes Leibovich. 

In contrast, Oreo —which typically uses a social mix of 39% YouTube, 25% Instagram, 25% Twitter and 11% Facebook — increased its Twitter component to 58% for "GoT."

And Johnnie Walker, which almost never uses Twitter, according to BrandTotal, has allocated 45% of impressions to Twitter for its campaign promoting a limited edition “White Walker” bottle (video below and above). 

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