Fifty Shades of Grey has many claiming it was one of the 'worst' films to hit the box offices in years, yet its $567 million box office worldwide total speaks differently. The film’s global influence offered brands an “opportunity to engage with the young, upmarket, early-adopting, social media savvy audience the film is set to attract” according to Karen Stacey, CEO of Digital Cinema Media (DCM) in AdAge.
Lightspeed GMI took a closer look at the fan base of this film – with less than stellar movie reviews, who contributed to this phenomenal box office pool? For many entertainment industry experts, the fans of Fifty Shades were anticipated to have a very similar likeness to those of the last blockbuster trilogy, the Twilight series. Using Lightspeed GMI Context, our social intelligence research tool, we ran some analysis to understand how similar these two groups of fans are, providing real world details about who these fans represent and how advertising to them may benefit brands.
At first glance, there are a lot of similarities between the two groups. The bases being compared are the 14,626 people in our global research panel who have liked Fifty Shades of Grey pages- both official and unofficial fan pages, and nearly 68,720 fans of Twilight pages (official and unofficial). The geographic makeup of these fans is roughly 80% US and 20% International, though Internationally the distribution varies for the two films. For Fifty Shades, the highest concentrations come from UK at 11% and AU at 3%; Twilight’s international component is composed of AU (3%) and UK (6%) and another 11% distributed across 40 other markets. It should be noted though that our product first launched in the US, so the heavy concentration here is not necessarily representative of global fanship. From an age perspective, both fan sets skew towards Millenials, with 64% of female Fifty Shades fans being under the age of 34 for Fifty Shades and 69% for Twilight. This somewhat contrasts with the intended audience of Fifty Shades, which according to Russell Perreault, Vice President of Communications at Random House, was women 30+.1
While based on age and geography these two groups may seem similar, Context helps us go deeper to understand tastes and preferences (as exhibited by Facebook like patterns). This ability is praised by clients looking for digital blue prints on how to appeal to their target market. Arguably, in today’s digital landscape, almost everything about your audience is relevant to your message, so exploiting this level of detail as part of digital ad targeting offers strong value. Interested users of this data might include the marketing teams for the Fifty Shades films, or other female focused brands looking at potential sponsorship opportunities with the franchise. The beauty of analyzing the likes of these fans is that those variables can be used to target advertising via the Facebook Atlas platform, meaning this taste and preference information can yield more successful digital ad campaigns.
To demonstrate, we looked at sub segments of fans using Context’s Mindshare reporting. This quantifies how the Facebook Likes of these fans are distributed across 33 distinct Market research categories. Categories are groups of Facebook Pages like Automobile, Science and Technology, Community, and Television. In turn, we can then index any two comparison groups within the overall fan base and identify areas of statistically relevant difference/similarities.
Fifty Shades of Fanship: Fans Overall
We’re not going showcase 50 comparisons; however, we can take a look at some of the more obvious segments that might appeal to brands and other interested parties hoping to leverage the franchise. Out of 33 possible categories where a fan can have a like, more than half of the comparisons between Fifty Shades fans vs. Twilight fans showed statistically significant concentration of mindshare. What this means is that these two groups of fans have very different tastes. Looking at the two groups in aggregate one of the most interesting findings suggests that Fifty Shades fans are more book lovers than film lovers. They also under index significantly in the area of movies and television (2.33 times less concentration of their likes compared to Twilight fans). Furthermore, we suspect that the Fifty Fans are fans of the trilogy format, with a higher proportion of them liking Twilight (46.23%) than vice versa- only 10% of Twilight fans like Fifty Shades. Net/Net, don’t bank on other film or actor/entertainer targeting for this group, instead stick to the actors/actresses and film associations of the Fifty Shades franchise. Otherwise use other areas of interest to reach and engage these fans (areas where they over index compared to Twilight include Home Related, Baby/Kids, Restaurant/Bar, Local Business, etc.).
Noticing that the majority of both fan groups fell into the under 34 bracket of Context; we looked next at females 25-34. The two groups were more similar in taste, only having statistically significant differences in mindshare comparisons 15% of the time (five categories). In instances like this, it becomes even more important to understand how to exploit those differences to appeal to a closely contested segment. Brands hoping to appeal to Fifty Shades fans would be wise to appeal to what appears to be a much higher level of community and local business engagement, where Young female Fifty fans’ likes are 1.88 percentage points greater than Twilight fans. If a brand is hoping to appeal to both sets of fans by perhaps targeting advertising to all females 24-35 who’ve liked both Twilight and Fifty Shades related pages, the areas to concentrate on are where there are no statistical difference in mindshare: Product/Service, Uncategorized, News/Media, Restaurant/Bar, Actor/Entertainer, Business/Commerce, Health Wellness, Arts/Entertainment, Organization, Baby/Kids, Home Related, Clothing and Accessories, Author/Book, Sports/Athletes, Travel, Government Politician, Company, Household Goods, Children/Family, Automobile/Transportation, Other, Animals/Pets, Science/Technology, Education, Food/Beverage, Personal, Recreation, Television, Apps/Software/Website.
One of the more stark contrasts between these two films is that nearly 10% more mothers have liked Fifty Shades vs. Twilight. In comparing the two groups, we find that 47% of Fifty Shades fans are mothers with at least one child living at home, where as 40% of Twilight fans fit that description. Similar to the overall fan comparison, we continue to see a pattern of more Fifty Shades mothers liking Twilight than vice versa (49% vs. 12%). Of all the subsets we compared, these Mother film fans are the most different in terms of mindshare. This gives advertisers an opportunity to reach the targeted mothers segment, which tends to make a majority of household purchasing decisions. If you’re looking to appeal to the mothers who liked Fifty Shades, the categories of Restaurant/Bar (32% greater), Business/Commerce (27%), Local Business (67%), New/Media (37%) and Uncategorized (47%) are all areas where Fifty Shades mothers over-index compared to Twilight mothers. As has been the common trend across all groups, these Fifty Shades mother fans also under index on movies, suggesting they generally are not as passionate about films. From a franchise perspective, knowing that engaging these fans by creating content to mirrors their interests in the above categories is a good strategy.
A Final Word on Fifty Shades Fanship
Whilst some of the plot of Fifty Shades may be best behind closed doors, the Lightspeed GMI Context tool has allowed us to open the door to who these fans really are. We hope those readers interested in leveraging the hype of this film to drive engagement with their own target market find it even a shade as tantalizing as these fans found the film.