Measuring the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show Performance on Instagram

Curious to know how this year’s Victoria’s Secret show fared on Instagram? Us too.

We took a dive!

Being an Angel is, like, so fun.

December is special for various reasons. Not only does it conclude the year, but it’s also the most densely festive month in the calendar. Both baby Jesus and all form of excessive consumption are celebrated — #Imeannn. Adding to the thrill of December year after year is a little company known as Victoria’s Secret. You might have heard of them?

Har har.

Angels We Have Heard on High

The annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show is a polarizing tradition that unmistakably hits the airwaves right on cue, just as all of your good intentions get put on hold until the new year. Because watching flawless Amazonian bombshells strutting down a giant catwalk while amazingly donning skimpy over-the-top accoutrements is just what everyone needs at this point.

Regardless of your personal stance on the yearly event, there’s no denying that the whole thing is entertaining af. The musical acts are always on point, and the Angels’ enthusiasm is nothing short of infectious (admit it). There’s so much hoopla surrounding the whole thing, it’s kind of hard not to get caught up in the hype.

Interestingly enough, it seems like the buzz around last week’s show wasn’t as exponential as it’s been in the past. Last year, all of the girls walking the event posted something to their accounts to publicize it, but only the real Angels published images on the night the show aired this year. Nothing from Kendall, Gigi, nor Bella — all Insta powerhouses that contributed to last year’s IG slaying.

After digging into the data, our suspicions were confirmed: Victoria’s Secret received almost less than half the organic impressions than it did during last year’s air date. How could this be? Is it possible that the major lingerie extravaganza could have lost this much social steam in the span of a year? Audiences are actually getting bigger across the model board, which should have logically grown the reach.

What Gives?

We have a little theory as to why this seems to have happened. But first, let’s discuss the taping of the show itself (spoiler alert: this runway affair is not occurring live when you’re watching it on television). It’s typically recorded approximately one month ahead of its scheduled TV spot, which gives enough time to properly hype it up and turn it into a much publicized sensation.

If the show is occurring overseas, as it has this year, all the models (yes, including the non-Angels) pile into a private plane for some good old fashioned divine bonding. A true marketing coup. Press ops galore ensue on the ride over, followed by a full account of the Angel whereabout with a seamlessly orchestrated social media photo diary. Super fun group sightseeing tours documented on the ‘Gram for all of us plebes to see? Check!

The marketers at VS are smart. They know that bringing the audience into the Angels’ lives and allowing the public a glimpse into the show before it airs generates astronomical excitement for the TV spot. The fact that all this hoopla generally occurs a good month prior to public release provides enough time to get amped up and hungry for it. This year’s taping in Paris happened a mere 5 days before CBS aired it, which bundled the buzz. While the day of the taping made a huge bang on Insta, providing almost double the impressions of last year’s show, the actual show itself fell flat in comparison.

It’s Show Time

So what were the results of the event on Instagram? Here’s what we found.

The two graphs below illustrate Victoria’s Secret Instagram reach from both the taping (on 11/30) and the air date (12/5). Their girls were posting abundantly while in Paris to walk the show, but not all of them contributed to social on the night the show aired, bringing their impressions way down in contrast.

This graph illustrates the impressions Victorias’ Secret received on the night their show aired on TV last December. It received almost half of what this year’s taping yielded, which can likely be attributed to the fact that each of their models’ audience has grown exponentially.

As reported by Fashionista, the most popular image of the entire affair belonged to none other than Kendall Jenner. She posted this shot on the night of the taping in Paris, and it became the most liked AND high-reaching image related to the show.

On the night of the actual TV air date, the 2 most liked images of the night were posted by The Weeknd, one of the musical guests.

When it comes to the highest reaching post of the night, the honors go to star Angel Adriana Lima. Adriana is not only their #1 Angel, but she’s also their #1 most influential Angel on Instagram, period.

Proof that miz Lima is the true reigning VS catwalk queen: the highest performing post on the brand’s account that night was a photo of Adriana, which received an engagement rate of more than double their average.

Last but not least, the reach of the #VSfashionshow hashtag did extend to unprecedented heights. This metric is a little less important in terms of organic impressions because it was used by the brand itself, but in terms of weaving the Victoria’s Secret name into the Instagram web, it makes for a priceless brand vehicle. Over 638 million impressions will do that.

We suspect that had Instagram power houses Kendall, Gigi and Bella posted something on the TV night, the outcome would have been different. Seeing as neither of them are official Angels, they probably weren’t contractually obligated to post about the show that night, and ultimately hampered Victoria’s Secret’s account reach. However, their lack of activity allowed The Weeknd and Adriana’s posts to win the Insta influence contest.

Had Victoria’s Secret not bundled the show’s taping and air date so close together, they could have doubled down on reach and hype.

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