Did the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Translate on Instagram?

[Originally posted on the Dash Hudson blog.]

Our annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show Instagram recap is here. Gird your loins.

A night of glitz, glamour, and gorgeous girls: that’s what the Victoria’s Secret fashion show is all about, and it’s never been more clear. Many conversations have taken place in the media about the nature of the event and whether it’s still relevant in its current format. We’re going to let others lead that dialogue — we’re here to dive into some concrete things: cold, hard Instagram numbers.

This is our fourth consecutive year analyzing the Victoria’s Secret fashion show social proof, and the tradition never disappoints in that regard. There’s always a new twist, numbers shift around with Angels and musical acts changing things up every time. As Instagram strategists and data geeks, it’s the holy grail of event analysis.

Let’s get to it.

Darling Angels

This year’s show came with a prequel: the Kardashian-Jenner sisters dressed as Angels for Halloween, which happened to only be a week before the show taped in New York City. Was this a totally genius marketing coup or simply a very happy (ecstatic, even) coincidence? Kim’s idea, as it turns out.

That means that the KarJenner sisters’ collective global audience of 494.2 million was already primed for Victoria’s Secret show content, rendering it top of mind in our collective psyche. Nothing like the most famous family on the planet warming up the bench for you.

This year’s show also marked the return of many absentee Angels in previous years, namely new moms Candice and Behati (Angels, they’re not just like us!). Insta girls Kendall and Gigi were also back, a major social score for the lingerie giant. Victoria’s Secret’s star Angel, Adriana Lima, took her final walk down the runway that made her a household name, during which television viewers were treated to a touching throwback tribute montage of her best moments with the brand since her early days.

There were also more musical acts than in past years: seven total, all with huge social clout, all who are in the midst of major career moments. This was undoubtedly a deliberate move on the brand’s part to capitalize on each one’s fan pool and expand its show hype and reach.

We can’t speak to television stats, but the Victoria’s Secret fashion show continues to be a major draw on Instagram, despite all the controversy (or maybe because of it?) brought on by people questioning the brand’s unwavering formula.

With the return of major stars that had missed previous seasons, like Gigi, Kendall, Candace, and Behati, the Insta Girls’ power was in full force, likely contributing to the huge increase from last year’s numbers — spoiler alert.

Let’s dive into those figures.

Heaven is a Place on Earth

First things first: the show’s taping date. While it aired on television on December 2nd, the whole thing was recorded almost a month ahead of time on November 8th — aka one week after the free KarJenner promo. The taping never fails to bring the hype, with Angels Insta-documenting pretty much everything, not to mention the media, brand collaborators, and fans reposting.

When looking at the @victoriassecret account organic reach that week, we can see the radical spike on October 31st, when the KarJenner sisters posted their Halloween costume. They helped VS reach over 137 million users in one day. Meanwhile, the brand reached almost 300k users organically over the 2 days surrounding the show’s taping (Nov 8–9).

Posts by Angels, performers, and supporters were rolling in after the show taped, contributing to the brand reaching epic Insta numbers. Here are the taping’s most influential posts.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t much of a follower spike after the KarJenner Halloween costume posts. Just a little bump on November 1st, where the sisters helped add 52k new followers to the VS account (its daily average is 33,667).

Meanwhile, the brand added OVER 344K new followers over the 3 days surrounding the show’s taping (November 8–9–10) thanks to all the above reach. That is stratospherically higher than last year.

Now let’s check out what happened on Sunday night when the show aired (December 2nd). Just like in previous years, the hype had died down by the time the broadcasting took place. While the VS account reached 300k users organically over the taping period, it was almost slashed in half once it came on the air. The @victoriasecret organic reach spiked up to just under 188M the day of the show, receiving less UGC than the taping.

The account also grew significantly less when the show aired than when it taped. On December 2nd, VS added just over 55k to its account. It’s a lot more than its daily average of 33k, but significantly less than its 344k growth in November.

Here are the most influential posts of the broadcast date.

While Victoria’s Secret successfully leverages the influence of all involved parties, how does this grand affair actually translate on its own Instagram account? Does its audience even care? To answer this question, we added all of its owned show-related posts to a Board (19 in total). Together they averaged a 0.57% engagement rate (at present time), which eclipses its average of 0.32%, and an effectiveness rate of 1.90%.

The fact that these posts outperformed Victoria’s Secret’s regular content indicates that it remains a fan favorite, whether they’re in it for the girls they admire, the musical acts, or the actual “outfits”. Either way, it all proved quite effective for the lingerie giant from a social media standpoint.

When looking at the top performing posts from Victoria’s Secret’s owned content, it became clear that GOAT Adriana Lima is a fan favorite. The veteran Angel was taking her final bow on the famous catwalk, and the brand’s tribute on stage and on Insta was felt by supporters. Nostalgia is always a winner.

Here are the brand’s top posts of the night.

The Victoria’s Secret fashion show format hasn’t changed in many years — a lot has been said about that recently. While television stats consistently report declining viewership numbers, this year’s Instagram results are way up from the past few shows.

Looks like all that megawatt star power really does work (with a little extra help form the KarJenners).

Header image: @victoriassecret

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