HBO reached 45 million people with a Snapchat lens to promote the season 7 premiere of its hit series “Game of Thrones.” The lens, which transformed selfies of Snapchatters into White Walker zombies, had a record 122 million impressions for a TV show-sponsored lens, Variety reported.
The average user played with the “Game of Thrones” lens for 23 seconds, compared with the 15-second average for a sponsored lens, according to Snapchat. People who unlocked the lens with a Snapcode tried it for an average of 127 seconds, a record for engagement among sponsored lenses.
HBO ran the “Game of Thrones” lens in 16 countries on July 16, when the new season aired. The selfie lenses also could be unlocked by fans using a Snapcode that HBO promoted on social media accounts.
The Game of Thrones campaign is a nice win for Snapchat at a time when Instagram is reportedly offering free sponsored lenses to advertisers as a way to test the new product and reach the platform's much larger audience. Advertisers are also reportedly questioning spending between $450,000 and $750,000 for a Snapchat sponsored lens given the platform's limited reach. However, as the Game of Thrones results and recent research testify, advertisers can achieve high engagement levels with Snapchat's largely younger audience with a well thought effort.
The “Game of Thrones” season 7 premiere generated audience growth of 50% from the prior season to 16.1 million viewers, a new record for HBO. The audience number includes repeats, streaming and DVR, according to Entertainment Weekly. The show also generated 2.4 million tweets, the most ever for the fantasy series.
It’s unclear how much of that record-breaking audience can be attributed to HBO investing in a Snapchat lens, given the massive promotion that went into series 7. Still, the promotion triggered a strong response for a TV show. The record-holder for sponsored Snapchat lenses is Taco Bell with 224 million views of its campaign for Cinco de Mayo 2016 that let users turn themselves into a Crunchy Taco Supreme.
Snap’s audience of millennials is a big draw for advertisers. Snapchat has 166 million users globally, and reaches 41% of all adults 18-34 in the U.S., according to Nielsen research commissioned by Snap. Snapchatters watch more than 10 billion videos daily, the company said.