TOWIE is the most tweeted about programme on Twitter – 7 TV engagement patterns

Popey from Towie: Popey said she was What do you think is the most tweeted about programme on British television right now? You might be surprised to learn that it is ITV’s reality soap ‘The Only Way is Essex’ or TOWIE as it is better known to its fans.

It is not only a little more popular than anything on television at the moment it is more popular by a long long way.  Some episodes have so many tweets sent about it that there are almost 7,000 a minute appearing.

Last night for instance the show attracted 89,616 tweets at a peak of 3,039 tweets per minute. The next highest performing programme was ‘Top Gear’ on BBC Two, which pulled in 50,021 tweets during the course of the show.

That’s nothing compared to the previous week when a whopping 207,284 tweets were sent during that particular episode of TOWIE, which airs on ITV2, almost hitting a peak of 7,000 TPM. I’m guessing there must have been something special going on at the Sugar Hut. Two for one drinks?

The data certainly dispels any idea that Twitter is dominated by highfalutin media and politics tweeters. In reality Twitter is much more democratic when it comes to TV. Although we already knew that to a degree with the success of shows like the X Factor.

ITV has also done very well in the past with things like its annual Pride Of Britain awards, which attracted around 200,638 tweets when it aired last year.

Although those politic tweets do manage to move the dial too. BBC One’s political stalwart ‘Question Time’ always does well on Twitter and last week for instance it attracted around 43,409 tweets at a peak of 1,012 TPM.

As SecondSync puts it, on Twitter the signal bursts through the noise to reveal very clear patterns of engagement around TV shows and while we often hear commentators talking about social media ‘buzz’ around broadcasts the reality is much more nuanced and different genres, time slots and demographics display different patterns of engagement.

We can see that with TOWIE and other reality shows that do well such as ‘Geordie Shore’. Or as in the above table ‘Celebrity Juice’, which is also a social media hit.

SecondSync has noticed over 20 repeating patterns of engagement that it plans to be releasing as a white paper documenting them in early 2013. In the meantime here are a few examples from the last 12 months.

Seven Twitter TV engagement patterns from 2012 

1) Dramas generate a bookend pattern of engagement.

Wild at Heart

2) Some shows demonstrate a remarkable viewer to tweet conversion. This episode of Made in Chelsea saw 25% of the audience sending a Tweet.

Made in Chelsea

3) Engagement around soaps is tied intimately to developments in the plot. The spike below is the response to the unveiling of the identity of Kat’s secret lover.


4) Twitter is often a barometer for public opinion. James Arthur attracted more tweets from day one on X Factor – long before he was identified as a contender by the judges. He went on to win the show.

X Factor

5) Some shows initiate a conversation that extends way past the end of the broadcast. The 15 Stone Babies on Channel 4 is a good example.

The 15 Stone Babies

6) Getting talent to live-tweet during broadcasts drives engagement. MTV are particularly good at this with The Valleys and Geordie Shore.

The Valleys

7) Tweet patterns for films repeat themselves. These two broadcasts of Dirty Dancing shown six months apart display almost identical Twitter engagement patterns.

Dirty Dancing