Love Island: A Social Media Paradise

For the past seven weeks the country has been hooked on the not so guilty pleasure that is Love Island. When it started back in 2015 it was a show reserved for hungover Sundays, but this season it has become 100% the UK’s type on paper, with everyone from Joey Essex to Lord Sugar admitting to being fans. On Monday the 24th July, fans tuned into the final episode to watch Kem and Amber crowned 2017’s Love Island winners and take home the £50,000 prize. We crunched the numbers to look at what drove this show to become an entertainment tour de force.

It is safe to say that Love Island has taken social media by storm, transcending TV becoming a bona fide cultural phenomenon. With a total of 3.1M Love Island related mentions over the past two months, online conversations have increased 580% on the previous season. In the week leading up to the final, #loveisland was the single most used hashtag in the UK with 630K tweets. In comparison, Game of Thrones has only been mentioned 147K times and Wimbledon only 117K times in the UK over the past 3 months. So it is pretty huge.

Who’s the most #muggy?

Of those who contributed to the 3.1M mentions, 66% were female and 34% male (though I am sure there are many more secret male fans out there). A third were students and 54% came from the UK, with Greater London being by far the most vocal. This was followed by Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire, both areas of major cities and therefore high volumes of people. Surprisingly for a British programme, 35% of mentions came from the US.

Viral posts and spoof accounts have been making a bit of a splash

Viral posts and comedic Twitter accounts, such as the one set up for Chris and Olivia’s baby (@hughes_cash), have made a significant contribution to the phenomenal volume of Love Island related tweets. The account has gained 64K followers since it was set up on the 19th July and has been retweeted over 53K times.

Users generally engaged most with content that had an element of comedy. The biggest viral post of the season, gaining over 43K retweets (including quote tweets) in less than 24 hours, came from the finale episode: Liv springing into the pool fully dressed like an oversized blue bunny. A clip that, much to Liv’s delight I am sure, has been paused, rewound and played back repeatedly in homes across the country.

The popularity of funny content is also reflected in the types of emojis used, with almost 20% of Love Island related tweets using the crying laughter image. This was followed by more literal emojis such as the island and the sun.

Chris and Camilla are 100% our type on Twitter

Since the season premiere on 5th June, the public have taken to social media to praise and condemn the actions of the 32 contestants that have come and gone from the villa. When looking at original posts, Chris and Camilla dominated discussions, with Camilla’s sweet disposition and Chris’s hilarious comments making them the nation’s favourites. In comparison, Montana and Oliva have been the most marmite contestants, with around 60% of mentions about them being positive and 40% negative.

However, once we add retweets into the mix, there is a slightly different story, with overall volumes increasing by 225% and Tyla shooting up to first place with 14% of the mentions (Chris and Camilla only made up 12% each). This is due to a viral post by athlete and fellow islander Theo Campbell (which has since been deleted), as well as being involved in a couple of leaked scandals, the likes of which no reality TV series is complete without.

Social media was also useful in predicting the winners, with 51% of mentions discussing favourites to win being about Kem and Amber once the finalists were announced.

Living for live or crazy for catch up?

There has been some recent discussion around whether millennials are still watching live TV. Though people were 2.5X more likely to state that they were going watch the program on catch up, spikes in conversations that occurred at 9pm every evening when the program was on would suggest that there was a significant number of people who still watched it live. To support this, an average of 2.43 million viewers tuned in to watch the final episode, which is the biggest ever audience that ITV2 has ever reached on a Monday night and mentions increased by 4K between 10:30pm and 10:33pm when the winners were announced.

Overall, Love Island has by far exceeded the expectations of everyone. Now that the islanders have said their goodbyes and the villa has been shut up for another year, the nation will need to find something new to obsess (and tweet) about, that is until the reunion episode on Sunday.

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