Social Drama: Network TV Shows Take to Facebook

Social Drama: Network TV Shows Take to Facebook Kevin Shively Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

This week marked the premieres of three major network dramas: CBS’s Elementary, ABC’s Last Resort,  and FOX’s The Mob Doctor. The shows join NBC’s premiere of Revolution last week as highly publicized new dramas.

So which show captured their audience’s attention?

In the past, Nielsen Ratings might have been the only indicator of a show’s success, but social media has changed the way networks target viewers, and changed the ways we can gauge success.

All four shows have huge followings on Facebook, and all four have been actively engaging their social audience for months. In fact, social media and viral content have played so heavily into the marketing and promotion for these networks that three of them offered sneak peaks of their first episode online, weeks before their air dates.

How did they stack up? We’ve been tracking their Facebook pages for weeks at Simply Measured, and the data is pretty impressive.

1st Place: Revolution

Sure, it might be a little ironic that a show about the planet losing all electricity is the same show that led the charge on social engagement. Revolution’s page captured a staggering 71% of the engagement between the four shows, which is even more impressive considering it finished second in the Nielsen ratings, earning 9.29 million viewers on Monday night.

Their Facebook page has 365,500 fans, a 58% share with it’s competitors. Their drastic lead over the competition is at least partially due to NBC’s active pursuit of a younger demographic for this show. The Revolution page has posted nearly double the content of it’s competitors, averaging 2.5 posts a day. Their success could also be contributed to the content of their posts. Of Revolution’s 80 brand posts, 44 have been photos, which statistically engage better than any other type of post. This was no exception for the Revolution page, which has tallied over 223,000 fan interactions over the last month.

2nd Place: Last Resort

The ABC drama about a government conspiracy and rogue US submarine was a distant second to the Revolution fan page, but it’s success and engagement was more fan-driven than anything. Last Resort has built a fanbase of 171,000 fans, but they’ve posted less than any of their competitors, averaging less than a post a day. Despite this lack of constant contact with their audience, Last Resort averaged over 2,000 responses per post, just shy of Revolution’s 2,404.

Last Resort’s highest engagement (and highest level of brand posts) was during the build-up to their premier, which is interesting since they also posted a link to the episode a week beforehand. The excitement around that early release might have been bolstered by a more aggressive Facebook presence.

3rd Place: The Mob Doctor

The Mob Doctor might be my favorite name for a TV show ever. The writers must be really proud of the time and energy they dedicated to that decision.

That being said, they spend a significant amount of time tending to their fans, so maybe they were busy. The Mob Doctor came in second as far as brand posts go, with 44 brand posts over the last month. sadly, their engagement hasn’t been as compelling, averaging only 317 responses per post from their 62,000 fans.

4th Place: Elementary

If you’re looking at the Nielsen ratings alone, the picture of Elementary might be a little different. The Sherlock Holmes refresh led in viewers, attracting 13.28 million for the premiere. Why are these numbers so high? It could be because their competition are a News Program and Scandal, a political drama already in its second year. It could also be because Elementary didn’t offer the online “sneak peak” that it’s counterparts did.

As far as social engagement goes, Elementary fell short, capturing only 2% of the facebook engagement share, even though the CBS drama posted more than Last Resort and nearly as much as The Mob Doctor. This discrepancy in engagement might be attributed to the high volume of links they posted. 22 of their 35 posts over the last month have been links to external sites, which fans can be less inclined to engage with.

Elementary may have led the Nielsen ratings for opening night, but I’ll be interested to see how this trends, since they don’t have the social structure to continue viral promotion that it’s competitors do.

To view the full breakdown, check out our competitive analysis and sign up for a 14-day free trial to gauge your own social metrics.

Kevin Shively

As the head of content marketing at Simply Measured, cohost of the #SimplySocial podcast, and generally delightful person, my job is to tell stories to the internet...You're welcome internet.