A friendly rivalry between Marvel and DC Comics has spawned since the 1930s, originating from comic books and then flourishing onto the big screens and video games. With more than 20 movie adaptations planned in the next 4 years, superhero movies are bound to break box office numbers, and social media records. While we must reckon that comparing Marvel and DC worlds is like comparing Coca-Cola and Pepsi - it's a matter of taste - we can however determine who is catching the attention on the social web this summer in regards to figures and stats.
Using Talkwalker's social media analytics platform, let's see who wins each round in terms of social media trends, share of voice, hashtag analysis, sentiment, and engagement on Facebook and Twitter.
Round 1: When you say "comic book" or "comics", people think of... Marvel
Interestingly, among 1.3 million results collected over the past 30 days about comics, and comic books, the top themes were "Marvel", "Marvel Comics" and "#MARVEL", an indication of the social interest in comparison with "Batman" or "Superman", both DC Comics superheroes who only come next.
Marvel 1-0 DC
Round 2: The brands' share of voice
Looking at volumes of mentions for the brand names give us an insight into who triggers the most mentions online. Using combinations of "Marvel Comics/Universe/Entertainment" and "DC Comics/Universe/Entertainment", the latter gets slightly less mentions with 46.2% of about 295,500 total mentions. A relatively close call, but Marvel comes out a winner again.
Marvel 2-0 DC
Round 3: Hashtag leaders in each comics universe
A good hashtag can increase the reach of an idea, brand, or topic, to readers that are part of a larger conversation. Looking at the number of hits for a particular hashtag gives an immediate idea of how much it is going viral at a certain time. For our battle here, the hashtags that lead the conversations about Marvel are #Marvel and #Comics, while the leading hashtags of DC are #Comics and #Batman (#DC and #DCComics come next).
As we notice, not everyone on social media will express their opinion about the parent company but also about the characters that bring these universes to life, which brings us to the next round.
For the sake of electing a winner, official hashtag count is 6,132 for #dc and #dccomics all together, and 33,371 for #marvel.
Marvel 3-0 DC
Round 4: Marvel vs. DC characters
If there was an award ceremony inviting the A-listers of Marvel and DC characters, who would have gotten a VIP invitation? Among some of the 15 top names we looked at, Batman (DC), Ant-Man (Marvel), Superman (DC) and Deadpool (Marvel) stand out from the crowd with almost 6.8 million mentions on the web in just 30 days.
Batman and Superman count: 4.1 million. Ant-Man and Deadpool count: 2.7 million.
Marvel 3-1 DC
One question we had looking at the graph of results over time (below) was: "what is this impressive spike on August 5th?!" which turned out to be concerning Deadpool, and the release of its movie trailer generating a lot of buzz online.
Now I know what you're thinking: it's completely unfair to compare characters while some have movies of their own, and some others don't. And that is absolutely legitimate, which made us in turn look at the movies based on superheroes that appear in publications by Marvel and DC Comics.
Round 5: Marvel Cinematic Universe vs. DC Comics' shared universe films
Movies based on Marvel and DC characters are numerous. Mostly focusing on the recent releases and upcoming, announced adaptions, the numbers speak for themselves.
The full list:
The stars on the web:
Research shows that Deadpool, Fantastic Four, Ant-Man, and Iron Man are in the target of social media conversations. It seems that characters that are satirical, cynical, self-deprecating or simply crazy seem to get the fans' attention. This, and the fact that Fantastic Four's Human Torch is black, prompting so-called haters to engage into inflamed debates on the web. We will take Stan Lee's position, who said: "It was more than okay. I thought it was a great idea!" The father of Marvel has spoken!
This round has a clear champion: the Marvel Cinematic Universe wins at the moment, but the much awaited DC's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Aquaman might overthrow Marvel movies in the "social media blockbuster battle" the coming years...
Marvel 4-1 DC
Round 6: Share of sentiment
While some people are adept of the saying "There is no such thing as bad publicity", PR professionals in charge of detecting early signs of crisis online will tell them they are completely wrong - even insane. In this regard, who of Marvel or DC gets the most positive mentions online / least negative mentions? It looks like DC is managing quite well with 22% of positivity versus 20.6% for Marvel, and 19.6% negativity versus 22% for Marvel.
A close call again, but DC wins in these two regards.
Marvel 4-2 DC
Round 7: Top communities on Facebook and Twitter
Marvel and DC have undoubtedly massive fan bases. Which of the official Twitter and Facebook accounts can rely on the most intense engagement with their communities? Let's resort to Talkwalker one last time for owned media analytics.
On Twitter: Marvel posts less than DC but gets more response from its community.
On Facebook: DC posts more actively and gets a higher response from its community.
Marvel wins on Twitter but loses on Facebook, it is a draw.
Our 8-round battle concludes to Marvel winning over DC on social media in terms of general conversations about comic books, volume of brand and hashtag mentions online, buzz originating from its cinematic universe, and Twitter activity. Winning the battle, but not necessarily the war. Superheroes fans, the floor is yours. Let us know who wins your heart @Talkwalker!
This analysis was conducted using Talkwalker, a social listening and social media analytics platform that monitors and analyses online conversations on social networks, news websites, blogs, forums and more, in over 187 languages. Conduct your own social media analysis today by getting in touch with us!