The end of summer can be a bit of a bummer (the heat, the humidity, the ominous barrage of back-to-school sales), but as August starts to wind down, at least there’s one thing to look forward to: fall TV.
Networks have, of course, been anticipating the new season for months now, with most hyping their latest and greatest new shows, starting with the annual upfront presentations to advertisers in the spring. What’s been happening since then? Rising viewer anticipation — largely stoked by social video. Using insights from Tubular Labs, we examined social video trends for three new high-profile broadcast shows: ABC’s Stumptown, Fox’s Prodigal Son, and The CW’s Batwoman, to see where those networks have been placing their (promotional) bets.
Facebook Dominates When it Comes to Getting Eyeballs on New Show Promos
Each network has taken a multi-account, cross-platform approach to promoting their shows, and it’s instructive to see how performance (in terms of views) varies by platform and account. While you may assume that more views would occur on the parent company accounts (which boast huge followings, while the show-specific accounts are still growing), that’s not always the case. And while YouTube seems like a natural destination for trailers and teasers, it’s Facebook that’s generated the most overall views for each of the shows we examined.
The ABC parent account has prioritized posting Stumptown promos to Facebook (16) over Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube (which have three videos each), but it’s the official trailer on YouTube (posted May 14) that’s racked up the most views so far — 4.1 million, 4 million of which occurred during the first seven days, according to Tubular’s V7 rating. ABC has also cross-posted the trailer to the social channels of some of its other shows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Revenge, The Good Doctor, Quantico) but those have resulted in fewer views (111K and under).
On the other hand, the Stumptown-specific accounts have posted more videos to Twitter (26) than Facebook (21) or Instagram (16), with the trailer posted to Facebook generating the most views (5.1 million, nearly all of which occurred in the first seven days according to Tubular’s V7 rating) — one million more than ABC’s YouTube trailer for the show.
Similar to ABC, the Fox parent account has posted more videos about Prodigal Son to Facebook (7) than Twitter (4), YouTube (3) and Instagram (2), and it’s the Facebook trailer (posted May 13) that has the most views so far: 6.9 million, most of which occurred in the first seven days according to Tubular’s V7 rating. And while there are specific Prodigal Sons accounts that have been posting video teasers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, those posts have resulted in far fewer views overall (under 30K each).
Instead of posting Batwoman trailers to the parent account, The CW has focused on using its other shows (particularly The Flash and Arrow) in conjunction with Batwoman-specific accounts to generate awareness and excitement. The most success in terms of views has come from the trailer that was posted to the Batwoman-specific Facebook account; since it was posted on May 16, it’s been viewed 3.3 million times, with 2.6 million of those views occurring in the first seven days, according to Tubular’s V7 rating. In comparison, a Batwoman promotion posted to The Flash Instagram account in June has generated just 362K views.
Social Audience Demographics of the Stars
Since the actors in these shows can play a crucial role in generating audience excitement, we’re spotlighting the star of each using insights from CreatorIQ, an influencer platform that helps companies run brand ambassador campaigns with content creators.
Cobie Smulders, best known for her role in How I Met Your Mother, takes the main stage in Stumpdown portraying detective Dex Parios. She’s been promoting the show on her own social accounts this year, particularly on Instagram, where she has 1.1 million followers and an engagement rate of 9.43% — solidly average, according to CreatorIQ’s analytics. The first Stumptown trailer she shared on Instagram was posted in May, a few days after ABC first put a trailer on YouTube; it’s accumulated over 229K views as of this writing.
Earlier this month, she posted another teaser that has generated over 85.7K views, and the captions for both talk about how excited she is to share the show with fans.
Smulders’ audience (about 3 million across social platforms) is squarely split male/female, with 50% in the 18-24 age group, and it’s worth noting that she has the smallest U.S.-based audience of the three stars (19%).
The lead role in Prodigal Son goes to Tom Payne, who plays criminal profiler Malcolm Bright. According to CreatorIQ, he has an audience of 1.2 million across social platforms, with the bulk coming from Instagram, where his engagement rate is 3.97% — lower than Smulders’, but still in the mainstream. The first show-related video he posted this year was in May, giving a quick behind-the-scenes teaser that’s generated over 151.4K views. The next month, Payne aligned with Father’s Day to post a teaser trailer (over 47.2K views), a natural move because the show is all about the relationship Bright has with his serial-killer father.
Payne’s cross-platform audience skews female (64%),with 53% in the 18-24 age group, and 27% hailing from the U.S.
Ruby Rose, who will play Batwoman, blows the other two stars out of the water when it comes to social audience size with an impressive 22.1 million followers across social platforms. But a larger audience doesn’t necessarily equal more engagement: on Instagram, where she has 14.2 million followers, Rose’s engagement rate is 1.76%, lower than Smulders’ and Payne’s. Her most-seen Instagram video about Batwoman (nearly 764.6K views), unlike the other two actors’, isn’t a proper trailer — it’s a quick clip of elevator doors closing to reveal Batwoman’s face, and was posted in July. Her second most-watched was a teaser trailer posted in May.
Rose has the most female-dominated audience of the three stars (73%), and 54% of her followers are 18-24. It’s also worth noting that she has the largest proportion of U.S.-based followers (29%).