Note: This is a Game of Thrones spoiler free post.
I watch and have watched a lot of TV shows. I have my current shows that I watch when they air and then I have the classic shows that I binge watch after they’re over. Of the many, Game of Thrones is my favorite and I think it is probably the best. While I’m sure avid TV watchers can debate the greatest shows of all time, I think that right now most people will tell you that they can agree on Game of Thrones. Some of these people may even admit to you that it’s the only show that they watch live – I am one of those people.
The reason for people watching Game of Thrones on an actual TV, or even on HBO Go, as soon as it comes on is out of excitement and fear of social media spoilers. If I do tweet out during Game of Thrones, it’s solely a quote that I thought was witty or something really vague. I hate huge plot spoilers.
As someone who needs to watch the latest episode as soon as it’s posted, I am always anxiously waiting for the new seasons to begin. Sadly this year my wait has been prolonged by almost 3 months as HBO recently set the premiere date for Season 7 to be July 16th. The reveal occurred in a very special, and different, way this year but as it has multiple times in the past – it involved the use of social media. In honor of this, here’s a look back at some of the ways that HBO has used social media interaction to get fans even more excited for each season premiere.
2017: The Fire & (Melted) Ice Reveal
Last week, Game of Thrones announced the premiere date for the upcoming Season 7 by inserting the date into a huge block of ice. The event was streamed on Facebook Live and as you can see in the tweet above, it had over 100,000 people watching on social media. If I was not on Spring Break, I absolutely would’ve been one of those viewers glued to their phones cheering for the ice to melt faster. While it was a valiant effort and it definitely got people’s attention, the length of the actual process annoyed some fans who took to Twitter to voice their displeasure.
While the Facebook Live stunt was a bit of a failure, Game of Thrones had 160,000 people tuned in at one point to watch ice melt. All to reveal the date that they could watch this year’s season premiere. It took over an hour for the ice to melt (69 minutes to be exact) and people still watched. Directly after the ice melted, the first trailer for the show was revealed on social media as well. It’s been just over 3 days since the release and the tweet releasing the trailer has 118,000 RTs and 119,000 likes. Wonder what the statistics from the video’s release on Facebook are in that same amount of time? It has 37 MILLION views, 881,000 reactions and over 600,000 shares. That is insane. Game of Thrones is a TV juggernaut and its following on social media is impressive.
2016: Tweet Your Allegiance Teaser Trailers (#HouseStark)
In 2016, the first teaser trailers for the Season 6 Premiere had nothing to do with a fancy ice melting Facebook Live stream. HBO actually created three separate 25 second teaser trailers that social media users were sent depending on which house they hashtagged and pledged their loyal to. It could be #HouseStark, #HouseLannister, or #HouseTargaryen. Each trailer featured a threat to the great houses so while not all viewers saw each trailer (originally), it was clear that Season 6 of Game of Thrones was going to be epic when it returned on April 24 – as the videos made known.
Just how excited were the fans for the Season 6 Premiere? Let’s just say that there were 830,000 Twitter mentions of the show on the weekend it premiered and 1.5million social posts. While I couldn’t find the exact numbers surrounding the teaser trailers because they were individually tweeted at users, one can imagine it was a lot. I’d actually be very curious to know the number of tweets that each hashtag got for reasons that could be obvious to those who watch the show (how can anybody be loyal to them?
2015: The #DragonHunt
I don’t actually remember taking part in this social media interaction for Season 5 but in 2015 it was considered one of the best examples of promoting teaser campaigns through social media. Fans had to set the bait using gifs from Giphy and then they would be tweeted back a glimpse of a dragon which they had to retweet in time in order to #CatchDrogon, otherwise he would disappear. The fans who successfully caught the dragon were rewarded with special content or prizes from the show. The hashtag event was so popular that it continued to be used throughout Season 5. According to the article linked above, “It’s not just the fame that helps Game of Thrones grow their social presence, but well executed campaigns like this one.” Leading up to the season 5 premiere, the campaign brought 1.9million users to Facebook and increased the show’s Facebook likes by 10 million. The Twittersphere saw almost 1 million #GameOfThrones tweets worldwide the night of the Season 5 premiere, which at the time was the show’s highest record of tweets during a single episode.
While Game of Thrones isn’t the most tweeted about TV show (an honor that belongs to The Walking Dead), I think that their social media presence and teaser campaigns get their viewer base more excited for each season. Although the 2017 ice stunt didn’t go as quickly as planned, it created a lot of buzz on social media. Meanwhile, the actual statistics behind social media interactions with the teaser trailer blew my mind. Since Season 8 (2018) will be the last season of Game of Thrones, the HBO & GoT social media team will have to generate as much excitement and buzz as they’ve done in the past – which I’m sure will be no problem at all.
Seeing as there may be a blizzard this week, stay warm because: