The first season of the true crime podcast “Serial” has officially come to an end. This investigative journalism podcast quickly became a cultural phenomenon making everyone ask, “Have you listened to ‘Serial’?”
Since October, listeners waited patiently each Thursday to download the latest episode and now that the final episode has been released, we wanted to look at the podcast’s entire social lifecycle.
What made this podcast have such mass appeal? Such social share-ability? Well, it’s a puzzling story of true crime and involves a real and very much unsolved case. Also, Sarah Koenig’s voice and delivery keeps us all hooked.
We’ve been tracking the podcast using Brandwatch social listening and analytics and have seen more than 524,000 mentions of “Serial” since the beginning of October when it first aired.
This might be the first time in history a podcast has racked up half a million social media mentions (don’t quote me on that, we haven’t done the actual tracking to say with any certainty).
As is to be expected, we saw an increase in mentions every Thursday, especially in December as the season started winding down.
December 4: 24,800+ mentions
December 11: 31,500+ mentions
December 18: 47,000+ mentions
Advertiser, MailChimp, continued to be one of the most popular topics in discussing the podcast over the past few weeks.
As we have mentioned before, sponsor of the podcast MailChimp hit social media gold when they decided to advertise on the first season of “Serial”. One of the most popular conversations surrounding “Serial”, besides the key players in the too-true tale, is MailChimp or MailKimp.
Both versions of the company’s name have garnered more than 16,000 mentions. The parody of the mispronunciation as MailKimp itself has received nearly 9,000 mentions. We’re pretty sure that “Serial” has brands and businesses knocking down its doors to get in on season two. Personally, I’d love to personally sponsor “Serial” and hear people mispronounce “Dinah”.
The top hashtags have included #serial (59,600+ tweets and retweets), #serialpodcast (34,000+ tweets and retweets), and #mailkimp (3,500 tweets and retweets).
“Serial” also continued to make its mark on other countries. While the United States has also had the most mentions of “Serial” (70%), conversations were seen in the United Kingdom (8%), and Canada (4%). If you look at the mentions map below, you’ll see that countries from Australia to Brazil, and many others in between are talking about “Serial”.
One of the most popular tweets we saw came from Best Buy on December 11 when the brand tweeted, “We have everything you need. Unless you need a payphone. #Serial”.
Due to backlash, Best Buy then deleted the Tweet, but not before it received more than 1,600 retweets. Best Buy also tweeted an apology later that day. It might’ve been a creative idea, but not a great social strategy considering how sensitive this real-life case is. It seems it’s too easy to forget that real people are involved.
A second season of the podcast is slated, and discussions of what Sarah Koenig and her team should investigate are swimming around the interwebs. We have seen mentions of:
The little girl who mispronounces MailChimp
The casting process of “Annie”
Zachary Witman murder case mentioned in episode 10
What case or issue do you think the next season should cover?
Another year over...almost
It's hard to believe that we will be welcoming 2015 in less than two weeks. We’ll continue to keep a close eye on trending stories on social media and viral campaigns for the rest of the month.
Next week we plan to publish a holiday wrap up of fun “Festive Facts” we have been gathering data for this holiday season. Think Elf on the Shelf, holiday tipping, and the world’s favorite Christmas movies.
If you have any questions or are interested in learning more about Brandwatch or social data, leave it in comments.