Brand Breakdown: Yellowstone’s Viral Success

RJ Licata, Sr. Director of Marketing

Brand Breakdown

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134.89 million searches — that’s how interested Americans are in Yellowstone, and how much they searched for information about the neo-western drama over the past 12 months.

Whether you’re a fan of the franchise or not, it’s hard to ignore the excitement brewing around this cultural phenomenon. With the final season just months away, brands will be champing at the bit to tap into the inevitable fever pitch that will lasso the country.

So, how can brands capitalize on the momentum?

We’re breaking down why Yellowstone has ignited audience passions, which topics are driving consumer interest, and how brands can join the conversation in a natural way.

The secret to Yellowstone’s success

Nobody expected Yellowstone to become the smash hit that would bring back the most popular film genre of the 1950s and 1960s. 

The series found a sweet spot by connecting with an older demographic that still watched cable, avoided movie theaters, and was more familiar with westerns. 

Yellowstone was able to gain popularity during the pandemic when an even wider audience was exposed to the show through streaming services.

Building on its success, the series spun off several prequels that told the story of the Dutton family through historical American events like the Civil War and the Great Depression. This added richness and lore to the already well-defined world and characters.

Given the popularity of the spinoffs, it’s clear the show, and genre, is just beginning to pick up steam.

yellowstone search volume

Audience interest is off the charts

Nielsen data has always been the gold standard for measuring a show’s popularity based on the size of its viewership. But that data barely scratches the surface when it comes to understanding audience connection.
Yellowstone ranked third on the 2022 Nielsen top 10 ratings list with an average audience size of 11.31 million. But if we compare these shows using consumer search data instead, Yellowstone has 6x the audience search interest compared to the average of the other 9 shows.

yellowstone search interest

Strike while the iron is hot

Looking at the popularity of each season, there’s about a ten week period for brands to connect with this highly engaged audience. The trend continues and brands need to be ready to connect.

yellowstone season trends

Connecting with Yellowstone fans

The viral popularity of Yellowstone and search interest in the show is far beyond just about any other show.

Now, let’s take a deep dive to reveal which Yellowstone topics have the most consumer interest around the series, and which brands control the conversations.

What do Yellowstone fans want to know?

Terakeet analyzed data from 134.89 million annual searches related to the Yellowstone franchise, and we grouped them into six themes fans care most about.

Search themes

  • General information about the show
  • How to watch it
  • About the cast & characters
  • Specific seasons
  • Spinoffs & prequels
  • Products related to the show
yellowstone annual searches

Which brands control the conversation?

You might expect Paramount and Peacock to earn the most consumer attention, but the conversation is actually controlled by publishers rather than networks. Here’s why:

All topics combined

  • 1,667 unique pieces of content compete for consumer attention across the top 30 market share holders.
  • Media Companies like Town & Country, Good Housekeeping, and IMBD own 74.45% of the content, and control 45.64% of the organic search market share.
  • 41.39% of the content gets no organic traffic because it’s not optimized for what audiences want.
  • Networks own 2.61% of the published pieces of content, but they capture 14.35% of the market share, making them the most efficient content creators in the group.

Cast & Characters

  • IMBD wins the most attention for questions about cast and characters with 27.52% of the total organic search market share, followed by (15.49%) and (10.06%)
  • Paramount doesn’t even make the top 20 market share holders, and only has 1.74% of the available market share. 
  • Consumer attention is almost entirely owned by publishers and media companies for these questions.


  • You might expect retailers like Amazon, Walmart, and Target to dominate this category, but is actually the winner with 23.64% of available market share, followed by Amazon (14.39%), and then (5.23%). This demonstrates that niche retailers with more expertise can still outperform mega retailers.

How to watch

  • As expected, Paramount Network and PeacockTV control more than 25% of the market share for this group of consumer questions. However, other brands are starting to chip away at their hold on attention. 
  • For example, last month, when users asked Google how to watch Yellowstone, the search engine pointed fans to DirectTV, Amazon, Apple TV, and Google Play Movies rather than Paramount or Peacock.
  • Google currently recommends Paramount and Peacock as the best place to watch the show. But this reinforces the need to control valuable information through your owned assets rather than rely on third parties to connect with your audience.
how to watch yellowstone
how to watch yellowstone 1

How brands can join the Yellowstone conversation

Now the question is how can brands across different industries join the conversation and authentically connect with fans of the series?

One way into the conversation is through the most engaged topics the audience is searching for. Here are a few opportunities.


Retail brands might show fans how to “get the look” of various characters in the series like Beth and John Dutton. They could create category pages for their products, blog posts, or even source user generated content from influencers. 

Hospitality brands like Airbnb could give guests a Yellowstone experience by connecting Paramount’s set design team with some of their top hosts in Montana to outfit homes with similar decor.


Although Season 5 part 2 marks the end of the Yellowstone series, the show ignited a genre that will likely remain popular for years. 

Mass media companies could (and likely will) create more neo-western dramas for hungry audiences.

yellowstone genre growth

How to watch

Streaming services could connect with consumers who want to watch Yellowstone by creating “Shows Like Yellowstone” categories on their platforms and publishing roundup articles like, “What to watch if you love Yellowstone.”

Cast & Characters

Interest in the cast and characters presents streaming services with a huge opportunity to connect with consumers by showcasing similar genres on their own platforms, as well as shows starring the same cast members.
Today’s consumer is in the driver’s seat, and they want to engage with brands on their own terms. To reach these empowered consumers, brands need to shift away from the old permission marketing model and embrace reception marketing.

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