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14 October 2011

The X Factor: Social media and the live shows infographic – Week 1

Rachel Hawkes, account director, Elemental By Rachel Hawkes

As one of my favourite shows on the telly, when Tim mentioned tracking The X Factor series from a social media perspective I was definitely keen.  Having watched the show from the start, I definitely had some thoughts on what we might see in terms of Facebook and Twitter when it came to the live shows.  

As an example, Sophie Habibas was the fastest growing contestant in Week 1, with her official social media channels growing in size by more than 58%, which is huge.  On the flipside, one of the most talked about Frankie Cocozza had the slowest growing channels - despite having (by far) the most numbers.  Sophie was barely featured during the audition stages of the competition, in direct contrast to Frankie who got a considerable amount of airtime and subsequent column inches.  Given that fans were watching him and searching for him online since his first audition and that he has the 'young girl factor' and the 'shock factor' (bearing his tattooed bum on national TV) it's a given that his audience size at the start of the show would have been considerably bigger.  The question is, as I think will become clear on the infographic over the next few weeks - is, from a social media perspective, has Frankie already peaked?  Will it continue to grow 10-15% a week, or will it take a considerable spike?

We've created an infographic to visualise the data we will be capturing, and we'll be publishing a new one with our thoughts each week over at The Wall and then here on our blog.  I'm re-blogging part of the first post at The Wall, to give you more insight into what we are measuring, how we are capturing the data and what we are hoping to learn.


Each week we’ll be bringing you an overview of The X Factor (UK), and what is transpiring in a social media environment. 

Before getting into analysis about the show and the results we’re seeing, and what we expect to see in the weeks to follow, here’s a brief explanation about what we’re measuring and how.

What are we measuring?

We’re looking at the 16 finalists, judges and The X Factor’s official social media channels; Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  As the intro is being played at the start of the Saturday show, we took screen-captures of each profile (approximately 40 in total), which we did again as the credits rolled.  This was done again at the start and finish of the Live Results show on Sunday, and it will be done the same way for the rest of the live shows in the following 11 or so weeks.

Why screen-capture?
This gives us a permanent record of each profile, and the figures and exact time they were taken.  Doing it this way, rather than just recording the figures straight into a spreadsheet means there is reduced margin for human error with the data entry. We can also use this to look at how the contestant’s profiles (such as their pictures and descriptions) change over time.

From Facebook, we are measuring the number of Likes as well as Facebook’s new, “People Like This” which shows the number of people engaging with a Page over a 24-hour period.  We’ll also be noting which contestants choose to go beyond the basic Page layout and functionality to be more interactive with their fans (such as Misha B, who’s Facebook landing page features an exclusive song powered by RootMusic).

Primarily with Twitter, we’ll be looking at the number of Followers, the number of tweets sent and how many people they themselves follow.  We may also look to how many mentions they receive during the live shows.

With YouTube, we are measuring the number of views of each of the live show videos and the number of comments and ratings.  We are also looking at The X Factor channel’s total upload views, profile views and number of subscribers.  People often talk about producer bias for individual contestants, so making a note of who’s video is the featured channel video against the inevitable chatter on this topic will be really interesting.  It may be interesting to note that prior to the live shows were added on Sunday, the featured video was Janet Devlin’s Judge's house audition.  After the live shows, it changed to Janet’s live performance on Saturday's show.

An example
Here’s an example from The Girls category, Sophie Habibas.

Saturday, 08 October
19:30:  Likes on Facebook - 2,535 Likes and followers on Twitter - 9,960
22:00:  Likes on Facebook - 4,565 Likes and followers on Twitter - 11,068

Sunday, 09 October
20:00:  Likes on Facebook – 5,701 Likes and followers on Twitter – 13,783
21:00:  Likes on Facebook – 5,875 Likes and followers on Twitter - 13,922

So, from that we found that the percentage increases and see that Sophie’s Facebook audience grew by 80% and Twitter by 11% during Saturday’s show.  In Sunday’s show Facebook grew by 3% and Twitter by just 1%.  

At the end of Sunday’s live show, Sophie had 19,797 Likes and followers, she started at the beginning of Saturday’s show with 12,495, which means her online fan base grew by 58.4%.  In total, her profile size by 7,302 and whilst not the biggest increase in numbers (Frankie’s grew by 21,955) it means her audience size grew by 58.4% overall, making her the fastest growing contestant in Week 1.

Spotting trends and insights

Although these are straightforward measurements we’re taking, over time it will allow us to look at questions such as:

  • Do ITV’s viewing figures correspond to growth and engagement across social channels?
  • Do the judges comments (negative and positive) correlate to the finalists audience size?
  • Do contestants that open and close the show see bigger growth during the week?
  • Do contestants that have been given the boot drop off the social media radar?
  • Can we predict who will be in the bottom two acts based on the growth and engagement on their social profiles?
  • Can we use this to predict who will leave each week?
  • Is there any correlation between the size of an individuals social profile and the amount it grows by and the order that the safe contestants are announced?

And the penultimate question – can social media determine the winner of The X Factor 2011?

The X Factor: Social media and the live shows infographic – Week 1

Categories: X Factor, Social media, Research, News, Infographics, Elemental

Tags: X Factor, the X Factor, iTV, social media, social media marketing, Facebook, Twitter, youtube, infographic, social media trends, social media insights

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