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May the fourth be with you internet Jedis. Just in case you didn’t know, today is national Star Wars day… and we’re pretty excited!

Last year on this universally important day, we used Affinio, the marketing intelligence platform, to analyze the @StarWars Twitter account to understand the fandom behind the billion dollar franchise. What we found were numerous interest-based communities such as Sports Fans, Marvel Fans, EDM/House Music Fans, and Canadian Hockey Fans. This variety speaks to the universal appeal of Star Wars. You can read more about these audiences here!

Although the franchise has been around for a while, and attracts a diverse fan base, there are still new audiences to gain. And this year was an astronomically BIG year for the Jedi Order! As big Star Wars fans, we wanted to learn the impact on the Star Wars social audience from all of the epic events that happened since May 4, 2015… as Yoda would say, “Much to learn, you still have.”

Let’s take a look:

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Since our initial analysis on May 4th, 2015 the Star Wars Twitter community has grown by75%… that’s over 970,000 new follows! Looking at the audience growth chart above, we can see that there were clear events that took place that sparked a high interest in Star Wars, and ultimately attracted new audience members. Here are three spikes that caught our eye:

1. Star Wars Day – May 4, 2015

The first event that attracted a high follower base was on May 4, 2015 – Star Wars Day! Overall, the Star Wars account attracted almost 17,000 new fans! Using Affinio, we are actually able to see which interest-based communities grew the most.

Looking at the growth table above, captured on May 5, we can see that the General Followers and Young Pop Fans grew the most after Star Wars Day.

The general following can likely be attributed to the mass amount of content being shared on Star Wars Day – the hashtag #MayThe4thBeWithYou as well as #StarWarsDay were trending worldwide on Twitter. However what is interesting about the growth of the Young Pop audience (which grew by almost 2,000 fans) is that Star Wars may have been a franchise previously unexplored for this group… the last Star Wars film was released in 2005! This audience, who self describe with words such as “student” and “teen,” and is interested in young pop bands such as 5SOS and One Direction, was likely too young for the 2005 film and are now striking up an interest in the franchise.

Diving into this “Young Pop” or should we say Young Jedi community even further, we can see that on May 4th, 2015 some of the Top Shared Content, Hashtags, and Mentions revolved around Star Wars Day.

Top Shared Content:

Hashtags:

Mentions:

2. Monday Night Football – Oct 19, 2015

The second event we wanted to hone in on was a huge spike that occurred on October 19, 2105. This spike was thanks to the release of the final Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer, during (get this) ESPN’s Monday night football!

Within twenty-four hours, the Star Wars account attracted over 29,000 new fans! Of these new fans, over 4,000 fell into the “Sports Fans” category which had previously experienced small but steady growth during our monitoring period.

By using a previously unexplored medium to promote the film’s release, Star Wars was able to attract a targeted new community!

Diving into this “Sports Fans” community further, we can see that after the trailer’s release, some of the Top Shared Content, Hashtags, and Mentions revolved around the film! We can see that the action-packed trailer really resonated with these Sports Fans.

Top Shared Content:

Hashtags:

Mentions:

Not only did the trailer reach die-hard sports fans, but Star Wars also saw large jumps in the “Gamers”, “News”, and “Hispanics” communities. While we know that the hardcore Sports Fans were tuning into Monday Night Football, there were also other communities that sporting events like this attract.

3. The Force Awakens – Dec 18, 2015

Finally the last spike in audience growth we are exploring is, of course, the release of the highly anticipated Star Wars: The Force Awakens film. The film was a SMASH hit! Over $2 billion in the box office isn’t too shabby.

The day of the film’s release the overall Star Wars audience grew by over 21,000 fans! Communities that experienced the most growth included audiences such as the Young Pop Fans, the Gaming community, News & Press, and Sports Fans. The hype around the movie and the press/coverage on its release were certain to spark interest amongst new audiences.

But why the slow uptake in other communities like Jedi Knights, Comic Fans and Film Nerds? We can assume that these are the communities that were already dedicated to the Star Wars franchise and would go see the film no matter what. The force is with them.

Star Wars is Here to Stay

With two more Star Wars movies already in the works, we can be certain that Star Wars isn’t going anywhere. And based on Star Wars marketing efforts over the past year, such as the Monday Night Football premiere and vast promotion for #StarWarsDay, Star Wars will continue to look for new followers and audiences in galaxies near and far!

Learn more about how Affinio can help media and marketing professionals,

  • Find naturally occurring audience segments
  • Understand an entire social audience
  • Uncover audience insights in minutes, not months
  • Monitor and understand the content that resonates within a key audience
  • Identify ideal sponsorship and advertising opportunities

Request a demo with Affinio!

May the 4th be with you on this day… and beware of the revenge of the 5th.

Originally posted on the Affinio blog, “Understanding Fandom: How the Latest Star Wars Film Reached New Audiences

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