When Star Wars debuted in 1977, it became an instantaneous cultural phenomenon without the help of social networks. But this week’s premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens marks the first time that the franchise is in full force on social media.
Keep in mind, after all, that it has been 10 years since the last Star Wars installment. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith premiered in 2005, when Facebook was still in its infancy. Twitter didn’t even exist yet. But in the intervening decade, social sharing entered hyperspeed. This time around, Star Wars mania is taking social media by storm. But just how big is the buzz?
To find out, I used the TrackMaven software platform to measure the response from fans as the Star Wars marketing team stoked excitement on social media across 2015. In total, Star Wars amassed 234 million interactions across its official social media accounts from January through November 2015.
Which social networks drove the most engagement for the brand? The graphic below displays the average number of interactions per post for Star Wars on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.
Interactions is defined as notes on Tumblr; likes and retweets on Twitter; likes, shares and comments on Facebook; double-taps and comments on Instagram; and video views on YouTube.
As you’d expect for a film franchise, video content proves to be the biggest boon for the brand. With the release of each new teaser trailer, Star Wars’ engagement surged. Posted on April 16, 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2 is the most engaging piece of content for the franchise to date, with 70.5 million views and counting. That’s a mega-viral video even for Star Wars’ standards, earning 31 times more views than the brand’s average.
Overall, Star Wars averages 868,951 views for every video posted on its official YouTube account. That level of attention dwarfs the engagement seen by leading brands on YouTube, including: GoPro (565,782 average views per video); Coca Cola (267,849); BMW (132,478); GE (45,136); and even the new owner of the Star Wars franchise, Disney (7,976).
Star Wars vs. Top Brands on YouTube — Average Views Per Video (2015)
The Disney-fueled Star Wars marketing machine even partnered with Google to launch the #ChooseYourSide campaign, allowing fans to alter their YouTube player and other Google properties with Star Wars graphics.
— Star Wars (@starwars) November 23, 2015
On Instagram — a channel with an especially high engagement threshold for B2C brands — Star Wars video content outperforms photo content by 38% (80,385 versus 58,077 interactions on average). Among photo content, nostalgia is the name of the game for the Star Wars social media team. On Instagram, #ThrowbackThursday posts from the original 3 films are among the top-performing content.
With the Academy Awards around the corner, film studios large and small are launching marketing campaigns to vie for attention and accolades for flagship films. For all the marketers competing with Star Wars this December… May the Force be with you.