The long anticipated S4 premiere of Game of Thrones was both the most watched and the most social HBO episode to date, two achievements that seem to go hand in hand.
#GameOfThrones and the direct account mentions alone brought in over 455K interactions on April 6th, the night of the launch. In parallel, it aired to 6.6M viewers, taking home the title for most watched HBO episode from the 2007 Sopranos finale.
The in-season social strategy for GOT alone sets the bar high up for social TV. Their episode announcement encompasses their strongest plays: clean artwork, posted right on cue with television, community feel through vocabulary the fan base knows and loves.
But is a well-conceived and well-executed social strategy enough to justify GoT’s engagement rates? I would argue that it is not, in fact the strategy itself could very well be a secondary player to the show’s social success. The more crucial component to the show’s successful strategy is that Game of Thrones is just that good.
Just like the viewership would not have been as high had the show been poorly executed with bad acting, no social media heights would have been reached either if no one was interested in watching. Despite the lack of a fact based research proving the link between viewership and mentions, GoT type examples where ground breaking viewership runs in parallel with exceptional social media figures do strongly suggest that good TV = good social engagement.
It still starts with traditional media.