Entertainment Weekly's director of audience engagement Chris Rackliffe on the success of Comic-Con
San Diego Comic-Con is now over four decades old. What originated as a destination for comic collectors and fans has now become a launching pad and promotional opportunity for every major entertainment brand in the world. Major celebrities from movies and TV host panels, parties and events to please fans and tease their latest film or series.
For example, MTV released a trailer for its highly anticipated "Shannara" and AMC's trailer for "The Walking Dead", "Fear The Walking Dead" and "Into the Badlands" have already earned a combined 24 million views way before any of these shows will actually premiere.
Entertainment Weekly, the Time, Inc. owned magazine has been at the forefront of covering the convention and making it larger than life by bringing the best content, interviews, Tumblr posts and Instagrams to the world with their constant coverage. Found Remote interviewed Director of Social Media and Audience Engagement Chris Rackliffe on their successful Comic-Con coverage and how digital platforms played a huge role in sharing Comic-Con with the world.
Found Remote: What were the highlights for EW during Comic Con from a social media perspective?
Chris Rackliffe: Comic-Con was bigger than ever for EW this year! During the preview night and the four full days of Comic-Con, we posted over 1,000 social posts across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest—double the amount we did last year. As a result, we saw a record one million social engagements during that time. Facebook referrals were up 52% and Twitter referrals were up 123% YoY. We also garnered 329,000 additional video streams from Facebook this year.
FR: Which pieces of content did best and why do you think they did?
CR: Here are the top pieces of content for Comic-Con:
- Game of Thrones audition reel
- Game of Thrones on Stannis Baratheon
- Hannibal Red Dragon exclusive
- X-Men: Apocalypse reunion
- Once Upon A Time introducing Merida
- American Horror Story cast reveal
‘Game of Thrones,’ ‘Hannibal,’ ‘X-Men,’ ‘Once’ and ‘American Horror Story’ have always outperformed our social averages for engagement and traffic, so we made sure to capitalize on our coverage of these topics.
FR: How did the partnership with Tumblr go?
CR: The partnership was a smashing success. It was simple, seamless and incredibly shareable. We’re super excited for more activations with Tumblr in the future. Our ‘Teen Wolf’ GIF received almost 2,400 RTs on Twitter and over 9,500 likes on Instagram. Another GIF that performed really well was one with Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams from ‘Game of Thrones,’ which garnered almost 1,000 RTs on Twitter and almost 6,000 likes on Instagram.
FR: Did you have any other digital partners?
CR: We partnered with Moviepilot to create and share video from the EW Comic-Con Studio in San Diego. They also helped us amplify our content socially, which was awesome.
FR: How big was the team working on the digital and social activations?
CR: We had two dedicated social media people on the ground in San Diego, as well as two more people on our social team in New York keeping content flowing.
FR: Anything else?
CR: We helped Joseph Morgan of ‘The Originals’ launch his Instagram on Friday, July 10, from the GIF booth at our studio. He now has 173,000 followers! We also had Masi Oka of ‘Heroes: Reborn’ take over our Instagram and announce his surprise visit to the Con. Another exciting addition to EW’s social portfolio is Snapchat, which we officially launched at Comic-Con, and gave a very “insider-y” look inside our studio with our Snap Story, which had a ton of additional engagement. We’re looking to aggressively grow our audience there moving forward.