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Growth hacking cable TV: How Mr. Robot quadrupled USA's traffic

True to its theme, Mr. Robot has established itself as a disruptive cable television show that redefines the hacking thriller genre. The show has multiplied USA Network traffic by a factor of 4X since the title's release, according to SimilarWeb, Found Remote's weekly data partner.

Particularly revealing is a monthly comparison with HBO stats since May of 2015. While HBO attracted nearly 8 times as many visits in May, the industry leader waned over the summer while USA Network delivered crushing results. By the end of July, USA had narrowed the gap. The two networks now appear to be neck-in-neck in the battle for viewership.

Is Mr. Robot USA's Clickbuster?

Could a single media property really have such a dramatic impact? A closer look at the search data clearly shows USA's most significant traffic source accounts for nearly 50% of the network's traffic.

Of 4,696 search terms that drove traffic to usanetwork.com, over 966 (over 20%) are directly attributed to Mr. Robot. Together, these terms accounted for 36.8% of the site's search engine traffic share. The top term "mr robot" alone accounted for 19.08% of search traffic – more than even the branded term "usa network", which drove 13.2% of the site's search traffic segment. Also interesting is the network's focus on Mr. Robot in paid search advertising. Approximately 10% of search traffic on combinations of the show's title was generated as a result of paid campaigns.

Three Months. 2.4 Million Visits. 6.4 Million Viewers.

An analysis of USA network's leading folders paints an even more dramatic picture. Mr. Robot drove a whopping 52.11% of USA's traffic share over a 3 month period. Echoing the search data, interest in the network's newest release destination URL usanetwork.com/mrrobot received the lion's traffic share with 29.85%.

Assuming traffic sent correlates closely to actual traffic share, a conservative analysis would conclude that when compared with search, other traffic sources combined sent at least as many visits (though probably more) to URLs associated with Mr. Robot.

In a data-driven programming marketplace dominated by Netflix, traditional cable networks must leverage digital technologies to compete successfully. Looking both at subject matter and promotional strategies, USA Networks has done a remarkable job keeping up with viewer tastes and digital habits. The marketing plan followed a guerilla campaign screened at SXSW and streamed on Twitch with a dedicated promotional site whoismrrobot.com, which attracted 850,000 visits from May to July 2015. The Pre-linear release for on-demand viewers was made available May 27th. By the official release date on June 24th, 2.7 million viewers had already checked it out, and 3.7 million more tuned in for the on-air telecast.

About Ohad Flinker: As the Inbound Content Editor at SimilarWeb, Ohad covers emerging digital trends and data-driven insights. When he's not too busy creating or sourcing the latest and greatest content shaping the digital measurement space, he enjoys mixed martial arts training, community-generated art festivals in the desert, and of course being a dad. His name is pronounced like "Oh g-d" with an H.

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