Case Study:

VaynerMedia and Affinio: An Analysis of Who Watched a Network TV Show’s Premiere

Background

In late 2015, VaynerMedia, a social-first digital shop, based in New York City and led by a larger-than-life thought leader, Gary Vaynerchuk, began working with a major television network to launch a new American comedy show.

Today, the TV industry is flooded with original scripted TV content that appeals to numerous genres. According to eMarketer, the amount of original scripted TV content has nearly doubled in seven years. Not only has the amount of televised content increased, but the audiences tuning into these shows are much more diverse. For example, a television show that fits into the drama genre may have a following of comedy fans. This cross-genre appeal poses a challenge for networks and agencies in understanding where a show fits culturally and understanding who the core fans are viewing the show. Reaching these ideal audiences is, therefore, becoming increasingly challenging.

Challenge

VaynerMedia, which focuses on creative strategy and media execution across all digital platforms for brands, wanted to understand what online communities and ideal audiences were talking about the show during its nationwide premiere. To better understand those engaging with the show, VaynerMedia needed a solution that would be able to identify the niche-communities found within the show’s audience. While social listening tools can capture the conversations happening at a given time, social listening can’t tell you what niche-communities and cultures exist amongst those chatting.

Approach

VaynerMedia first leveraged a social listening tool to extract a random sample of 3,000 tweets that were shared during the show’s premiere in January. The tweets sourced were limited to those users with under 5,000 followers to ensure the audience was comprised of ‘normal’ people, excluding celebrity-status tweeters. VaynerMedia then took this list of 3,000 individuals and uploaded it as a CSV file into the Affinio platform to learn about the people who tuned in, including a deeper look at their audience interests. On choosing Affinio, Juliana Lewis, Consumer Insights Strategist at VaynerMedia explained,

“Affinio is able to add colour and dimension to a TV audience that listening cannot do alone. Affinio adds qualitative, human features to a 2D landscape.”

Affinio analyzes the billions of relational network connections that exist within any given audience. Using Affinio’s deep learning and custom network engine, Affinio can analyze these connections to develop a social fingerprint for each user. The platform then segments individuals into clusters (communities) based on their shared interests, affinities, and the content they consume.

Results

Using Affinio, VaynerMedia was able to identify eight distinct niche-communities found within the sample audience including Online Gamers, Baseball Fans, and Fashion & Entertainment News, to name a few. The audience discovered using Affinio was far more diverse than expected. Lewis explained that the show was surprised at the “unexpected pockets of audience interest.”

One of the more surprising pockets was a niche-community of super fans for another mainstream sitcom. This fan base was attributed to the fact that one of the main stars of the show previously appeared in the sitcom – showcasing the actor’s influence over the audience.

Based on the cultural insights Affinio was able to identify, the show is now re-learning who their audience is. Lewis shared,

“It’s not enough to say their audience like comedies, Affinio can tell us what those interests are and how we can communicate with them moving forward.”

By leveraging the interest graph and taking an audience-first approach, VaynerMedia, and the TV network, were able to understand the show’s viewers intimately. Using this data, they are now armed with the cultural insights needed to make better strategic decisions to grow, cultivate, and better nurture their diverse fan community over time.

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