Pretty Little Tweeters: How the finale beat the records

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

It was the explosive finale that rocked the fans’ world — but Pretty Little Liars’ (@ABCFpll) huge reveal didn’t just happen on TV. It took place live on Twitter, breaking records along the way.

The finale of the @ABCFamily show was the most social program on TV yesterday, with 1,973,418 Tweets. According to SocialGuide, the episode broke all records for a scripted TV series. It was up 16% from the previous season’s summer PLL finale figure (1,701,125 Tweets). This was the highest figure ever recorded for a scripted show until PLL broke its own record last night.

PLL’s finale promotion
The social media campaign began with a daily countdown of the show’s Top 10 most shocking reveals.

Using the hashtag #WorldWarA (to denote the explosive denouement) the social media team tweeted ahead of the show to build excitement, using the hashtag on-air.

Cast members took part too:

The team retweeted excitement from the fans:

This was combined with reminder Tweets in the moments before the finale:

During the show
Star Lucy Hale got in on the fun by live-tweeting the show:

After the final reveal, an onscreen call to action urged fans to immediately tweet their #PLLReaction photos:

How ABC Family used PLL to promote a new fall launch
The ABC Family social media team took advantage of the buzz around the finale to publicize its new PLL spinoff #Ravenswood, which premieres in October. The network challenged PLL viewers to unlock a portion of a photo tweeted out by star Tyler Blackburn (@tylerjblackburn), who will also be part of the cast of Ravenswood. Called the #RavenswoodReveal challenge, a portion of a photo that reveals a clue into the mystery of Ravenswood was revealed as each Tweet was unlocked.

To unlock a Tweet, it had to be retweeted 1022 times — a reference to the October 22 premiere date. Castmates Nicole Gale Anderson (@HeyItsNicoleA), Brett Dier (@Brettdier), Britne Oldford (@BritneOldford) and Merritt Patterson (@merrittpattrsn) would then tweet out subsequent portions of the photo. The trick: each new piece would only be triggered after the previous portion had been retweeted 1,022 times. Once all of the photo pieces were unlocked, fans needed to assemble the pieces and the resulting photo would divulge a tantalizing secret about Ravenswood.

The challenge worked:

This added up:

Fans excitedly retweeted the reveal of the new show:

What the data shows
The show’s Twitter following has been strong from the start, but the most recent episodes have generated an even higher proportion of the total conversation about TV on Twitter.

Do you know about any innovative uses of Twitter in TV? Let us know at [email protected].