We’re big fans of the WWE, not just for the entertainment side, but the way that they manage and engage with their fans across their digital channels.
Last Sunday hosted one of the biggest events on the WWE Calendar: Summerslam. The annual August pay-per-view which first occurred all the way back in 1988.
In this day and age the pay-per-view, which was set to last an impressive four hours (along with an additional one hour pre-show broadcast) would prove to be a lot for even the hardened of fan to sit through, after all a recent study by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information and the National Library of Medicine in the US found 79 per cent of respondents regularly “dual screen” by using portable devices while watching TV.
Using this information the WWE appear to have decided that if viewers are going to be looking at their mobile and tablet devices during the event, then they could be engaging with them. At the same time they could also reach those that may not have purchased the event, but in turn could be tempted in purchasing the repeat broadcast or subscribe to the WWE’s Netflix esq On-Demand service the WWE Network.
The WWE’s Social Media team went into over-drive and published an impressive amount of content across their key channels: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, generating levels of response that would surely rival any major event.
During the event and one-hour prior to its start, a total of 36 posts were published covering the hype, matches and reactions. Each match would be featured via multiple Facebook posts, with the bigger matches having more coverage than lesser bouts.
In total the 36 posts generated 1,017,500 reactions, 33,967 comments and 63,933 shares. The video clips that were published were viewed 25,707,000 times.
The match that generated the biggest reaction was the main event match between Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton. The match, which featured a controversial ending generated an impressive 280,000 reactions, 9,025 comments, 17,642 shares. Overall the coverage promoted 306,667 actions in total! The video post for this match was viewed 3.2 million times!
The second most reaction causing match was the Universal Championship match between Finn Balor and Seth Rollins. Interestingly Finn Balor featured in 6 of the 36 published posts. with his rival Seth Rollins not being the focus of any.
The match between Rusev and Roman Reigns generated the third amount of reactions. Interestingly the rematch between John Cena and AJ Styles generated more reactions (54,000) than the WWE Championship match between Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler (41,000).
The surprise return of Nikki Bella generated 49,000 reactions, 2071 comments, and 5,527 shares. The video was viewed 1.6 million times.
Other matches that generated impressive video views was Rusev V Roman Reigns (2.607 million) and Finn Balor V Seth Rollins (1.6785 million).
WWE’s approach to Twitter is to have multiple profiles, each featuring a variant of the content. For the event a special profile @Summerslam was used.
113 Tweets were sent from this account during the event, generating 44,872 ReTweets and 79,869 likes.
The approach on Twitter was similar to Facebook with an average of 7.23 Tweets sent during each match. The main event of Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton was tweeted the most – 13, with John Cena V AJ Styles second (11) and Finn Balor V Seth Rollins third (9).
The Six Women Tag Team match which was largely ignored on the WWE’s Facebook page (in favour of focusing on the return of Nikki Bella) had 7 tweets.
— WWE SummerSlam (@SummerSlam) August 22, 2016
The most interacted with Tweet featured the image of Brock Lesnar standing over a bloodied Randy Orton, generating 1,786 ReTweets while being liked 2,523 times.
— WWE SummerSlam (@SummerSlam) August 22, 2016
The second most popular tweet saw Finn Balor celebrating his victory, with 1,876 Retweets and 2,695 likes. A tweet dedicated to Nikki Bella’s return was liked an impressive 3,228 times and ReTweeted 1,708 times.
WWE published a combination of snippets of the matches, along with backstage interviews and footage. In total 10,320,375 views were earned from 31 videos.
Once again the match between Brock Lesnar V Randy Orton generated the most reponse, with 1,603,991 views.
Nikki Bella’s return was the second most popular, viewed 1,002,323 times
When comparing the Wrestlers from each brand (Raw and Smackdown) generated, Smackdown which is often considered to be the “B” Show outperformed its rival Raw, with 39,776,40 views from 11 videos compared to 35,955,30 from 13.
The return of Nikki Bella played a big part in this, accounting for over one million views.
The intra-brand match between Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton generated 1,603,991 views from a sole video.
35 posts were published, giving fans a “behind the scenes” look as Summerslam unfolded.
In total the 35 posts generated 1,459,600 likes and 37,238 comments. Eight of the 35 posts were videos, generating 972,500 views.
Superstars from Raw generated the most response, accounting for 49.83% of the overall reactions, with Smackdown accounting for 34.34%. The Intra-brand match between Brock Lesnar and Randy Orton accounted for 15.83%.
Losing WWE Women’s Champion Sasha Banks featured the most, in 3 posts, with Finn Balor, Brock Lesnar, Charlotte, The Miz, Kevin Owens & Chris Jericho and The New Day all the focus of 2 posts.
In terms of responses (a combination of likes and comments), the most popular Instagram post was this of Finn Balor:
Nikki Bella’s Instagram post was the second most popular with 120,469 responses, followed by Dean Ambrose holding the WWE Championship, with 95,622.
The WWE did a great job of producing the sheer volume of content during the live show and have once again set the standard of how to engage with an audience during an event.
There is no doubt that the controversial main event achieved its goal and generated a buzz which would have been the talk of Wrestling, Fight and non fans.
Based on the amount of response Finn Balor was generating, the WWE appears to have a star on their hands, despite only being called up to Raw from the developmental program NXT only a few weeks ago.
While the WWE executives may be disappointed that the WWE Championship match was potentially not as provoking as other matches, there is no doubt that the audience was happy to see the return of Nikki Bella following her time away from the ring while recovering from Neck Surgery.
Nikki generated an incredible 2,781,188 views across Youtube and Facebook, 201,758 responses (Youtube Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down, Instagram Likes, Retweets & Twitter Likes, Facebook Reactions & Shares) and 9800 comments (Youtube, Facebook & Instagram)
We look forward to see how the WWE looks to build on the success of its Summerslam campaign across the other major pay-per-view events in the future.