The Emmy for TV Ad Performance Goes To …

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Like ratings, award nominations tell TV advertisers nothing about performance. Just because a program is lauded for its excellence doesn’t mean it’s going to drive response for brands that run spots during it. The only way to know which programs are working (and which are not) is through continuous measurement and optimization.

This year’s Emmy nominees represented the best of the best content in what is, arguably, the second “golden age” of TV. But which among them won the “Emmy” for best TV ad performance?

To find out, TVSquared took all the 2019 Emmy-nominated shows – across categories – that ran on ad-supported TV, and segmented them by comedy, drama, reality and late night. We then analyzed tens of thousands of spots and millions in TV ad spend from our ADvantage platform to find the the shows that drove the greatest response (online sales, site visits, search, app activity, etc.) for advertisers spanning industries, including auto, finance, retail and personal care.

In short, if it was nominated for an Emmy and ran on ad-supported TV, we analyzed it for performance!

Here’s what we found:

Winner – Overall + Reality: RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1)

“RuPaul’s Drag Race” was not only the top Emmy-nominated program overall – with a 539% above-average response rate – but it also took the prize in the “Reality” category, beating the runner up, “Top Chef,” by 52%.

Winner – Comedy: Drunk History (Comedy Central)

“Drunk History” won among all comedy-related programming, with a response rate of 248% above average. Although it should be noted that “At Home with Amy Sedaris” lost the top spot by just 6%.

Winner – Drama: Killing Eve (BBC America)

The UK import, “Killing Eve,” was easily the top-performing drama, with a response rate 362% above average vs. other nominated shows in the category, including “Better Call Saul,” “How to Get Away with Murder” and “This Is Us.”    

Winner – Late Night: The Daily Show (Comedy Central)

“The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” won with a response rate of 77% above average. It finished just 25% higher than the second-place finisher, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.”

Outside of the traditional categories, we also created a few of our own, “awarding” the program genres and industry verticals that made the biggest splash among the pool of Emmy nominees:

Winner – Programming Genre: Comedy 

Among all the genres analyzed, Emmy-nominated comedy programming had a cost per response (CPR) of 61% below average and a response rate 66% higher. The reality genre was also strong, with a CPR of 36% below average, and a response rate that consistently matched the overall average.

Winner – Industry Verticals: Auto Spots and Dramas

Out of all the verticals analyzed, auto brands that ran spots during Emmy-nominated dramas had a CPR of 17% below average, and a response rate 4x higher than average.

The “runner up” was finance brands airing spots during Emmy-nominated reality series. They saw a CPR of 26% below average, and a response rate 103% higher.

It’s important to note that these were aggregated results from various types of advertisers across industries. The best performing shows (and networks, days, dayparts, genres, etc.) for a brand will be unique to that brand. But these awards illustrate the importance of thinking about TV programming for performance.

You can read about more of the 2019 TV Ad Performance Emmy winners here.

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