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How TV Content Drives Searches For Holidays

TV content has been proven repeatedly to drive search behaviour and research from Ericsson has shown that 64% of people use a second screen to directly complement the content they are watching. The habitual use of a second screen while watching TV is on the rise, as eMarketer has shown that the number of people using a second screen to view information related to the content they are watching has risen by 34.8% from 2014 to 2016.

Further research has recently highlighted that advertising shown during lifestyle TV programming results in a 22% increase in engagement compared to other types of TV programmes. Here, we use some of our original research to take a look at how searches for holidays often reflect this trend as viewers are motivated to search for travel options based on the programmes they are watching.

Examples Of Second Screen Searches For Holidays

Second screen users are often motivated to search for topics based specifically on the dialogue spoken during a TV programme and the visuals displayed. At 6:30pm Saturday 12th November, “A Place In The Sun: Winter Sun” focused on two people looking for a property in Tenerife, and they were introduced as follows with the corresponding visuals:

“Today I’m helping Bob and Carol from Leicestershire find their dream property here in North Tenerife.”

How TV Content Drives Searches For Holidays | mporium

Searches relating directly to Tenerife spiked just after the mention of the two people and the location were made, as the data below (taken from Google trends) shows:

How TV Content Drives Searches For Holidays | mporium

Searches can also be prompted after watching TV programmes with links to other topics. On Friday November 4th, 4seven broadcast an episode of “A New Life In The Sun” and at 12:28 pm, the following visual was shown along with the following dialogue:

“A family of Brits race to open their business in the Spanish desert despite stiff local opposition.”

As the graph below shows, this resulted in a sharp rise in searches for “canary islands” at exactly the same time as the topic of relocating businesses to Spain was mentioned. This shows that viewers are often prompted to search for related topics as a result of TV content, meaning that those brands looking to benefit from the impact of second screen searchers should be aware of any semantic links a viewer may make with what’s on screen at any given point.

How TV Content Drives Searches For Holidays | mporium

Viewer intent to research holiday options doesn’t have to be strong for search behaviour to be affected by TV content. Academics Robert Kubey and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi theorised that watching television requires a certain amount of skill that viewers are often unaware of and this process of decoding information is crucial in terms of viewers being able to relate particular phrases or exchanges from a TV programme and act upon processing them.

During an episode of “Coronation Street” aired on Monday November 14th, one of the characters was offered a one-way ticket to Cancun as detailed in the script:

A one—way ticket to the beautiful shores of Cancun. Yes.”

This resulted in a spike around the search term “Cancun” at 8:52pm:

How TV Content Drives Searches For Holidays | mporium

Although viewers’ intent may not necessarily have been to search for holidays to Cancun, they nonetheless looked to find more information about the location. This shows that viewer intent is an important factor in second screen search behaviour but not the only factor in how it is performed.

One of the more important factors of second screen search behaviour is ensuring that an advert will drive traffic to your site rather than others. During an afternoon, a “First Choice” advert was shown on a variety of channels between 2:30pm and 4:11pm. However, despite the dialogue on TV specifically mentioning the brand – “…with so much included in a First Choice holiday…” – there were also spikes in searches for “holiday deals”:

How TV Content Drives Searches For Holidays | mporium

This shows that advertisements are useful in terms of driving second screen searches but that these searches may not be brand specific. As a result, it is important to ensure that other brands don’t steal in and capitalise on the search earned by your advert. Consumer loyalty towards travel brands has been in decline for several years meaning that consumers are more interested in the easiest, cheapest deal rather than specifically looking for a recognisable brand.

The type of holiday being advertised can also be a factor in the same manner. During an Expedia advert on Channel 4 for short holidays, a spike was observed for searches for “short breaks”:

How TV Content Drives Searches For Holidays | mporium

Once again the importance of understanding the specific search terms a viewer will use is vital as this will enable you to target certain phrases upon which your search ads can be triggered.


Second screen search behaviour is heavily influenced by TV content, and within the travel industry, it is important to remember that viewers are more flexible than ever due to the wide variety of comparison sites. Therefore it is imperative that sites are ready for mentions of related topics on television in order to capitalise on the moment at which a potential customer decides to search.

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