5 lessons marketers can learn from the Fifty Shades premiere on social media

Valentine’s Day – people either love it or hate it. But from a marketers’ point of view, everything is worth analysing! So even if you don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, or don’t like Fifty Shades, there are still many lessons to be learned from the Fifty Shades premiere on social media channels.

Just how successful were they? And why? Did they make any mistakes? What can we learn from them? We’ve got it all covered, and the results are a must see!

We’ve analysed the Fifty Shades Global Page, which consists of 29 Market Pages and the Default Page. The Default Page gathers fans from 45 countries which don’t have their own Market Pages.

The power of video content on Facebook

Is video content beneficial for your brand? We’re sure you know the answer is a resounding yes. But are you unsure of where to post?  

We’ve analyzed The Fifty Shades trailers both on Facebook and YouTube in different countries. The results? Facebook wins!

Facebook is putting more and more emphasis on video content. And let’s face it – Facebook has also been discriminating against YouTube content for some time. They’re trying to create their own ecosystem, one of which is Facebook Watch (currently only available for Facebook users in US).

Facebook video ecosystem

Facebook video ecosystem

The high numbers and popularity of the Fifty Shades trailers on Facebook are undeniable. But it’s important to know how those views are counted.

  • On Facebook, they are now counted just after 5 seconds (not much, right?).
  • On YouTube, the video must play for 30 seconds to count.

This is one of the reasons for the 51 million views on Facebook (over 20 million more than on YouTube!).

Official Fifty Shades trailer on Facebook | Number of views on the Default Page

Official Fifty Shades trailer on Facebook | Number of views on the Default Page

The video ecosystem on Facebook is not yet as popular as YouTube. But since there isn’t much competition, it’s still worth establishing a presence.

Moreover, Facebook can engage with more varied kinds of content, including videos. On YouTube, all you can do is like, dislike, or comment on a video. On Facebook, the range of activities is much wider, which means more opportunities to reach a larger audience.

Conclusion? Now is the best time to take advantage of publishing videos directly on Facebook – especially if you care about having nice stats 😉

By the way, did you know that at Sotrender we’ve just introduced some new charts and metrics to better analyze your video content?

Analyze your social media efforts with Sotrender's 2-week free trial!

Having a Global Page can be tricky

… so you need to properly care for it.

Global Pages were launched almost a year ago and many companies and brands have already taken advantage. But is this decision equally valuable to all Pages? What should be kept in mind when running one?

The Fifty Shades Page demonstrates that you need to keep analyzing your Global Pages and Market Pages. You need to keep track of their performance. And this is what many people forget. The overall performance of your Global Page is delivering? Awesome! But are you sure that all your Pages are achieving success?

In the Fifty Shades Global Page, the situation varies depending on the region – both when it comes to number of fans and the number of reactions.

In western countries, especially the US and Canada, the number of fans rose tremendously. This could be because, for example, the movie better fits the culture of western countries.

Fifty Shades - number of fans in selected countries

Fifty Shades – number of fans in selected countries

A smaller increase (but still visible) was observed in other continents, e.g. South America (Peru) and Asia (e.g. India, Philippines, Pakistan).

How could they better reach countries which don’t have a designated Market Page? Dark posts are one solution, but experience shows that just setting them up won’t be enough. Seeing a post in your language and then getting redirected to the Default Page in z different language could easily irritate a large portion of your audience. This might be the reason for the drop in number of fans in Eastern European countries which don’t have as many English speakers. The activities and campaigns targeted at this region were either less than effective or completely ineffective. Or maybe the slavic market lost interest due to the content of the movie?

As for reactions on Facebook, they are generally positive – mostly likes, love, and surprise.

Fifty Shades - reactions

Fifty Shades – trailer’s reactions on Facebook

Hey, you can now also analyze all types of reactions people give to your content in Sotrender!

It’s slightly different on YouTube, where there’s a lot more negative reactions (dislikes). The reason is simple – more anonymity leading to more open opinions.

Fifty Shades, number of views on YouTube

Fifty Shades – charts presenting number of views on YouTube

So the entire world isn’t equally in love with Fifty Shades. Marketers should always be aware of such a situation. If they care only about the overall results, focusing on specific markets, they could easily lose control. They’d miss out on important factors which affect their Page. With smaller brands, it’s especially important to put more work and effort into other markets. For giants such as Fifty Shades which don’t have to fight for attention, it’s always way easier to achieve success.

Timing, timing, timing

One reason for the success of Fifty Shades is the date of its premiere, which is (just around or exactly) on Valentine’s Day. The truth is, no matter your opinion, the majority of people want to do something special this day. And when it comes to marketing, we want to share the experience along with new ideas.

The Fifty Shades movie is just one way to spend Valentine’s Day. But options like this can be quite limited. The majority of us will choose either going to the cinema or going out for dinner.

We will still likely watch trailers online before getting a ticket, look for gifts or inspiration for ways to spend the special day. Many of us will do this through Facebook. And Facebook doesn’t look like it used to a few years ago – it’s constantly changing.  A perfect example is Facebook Video – an ecosystem which for the majority of users worldwide now offers an expanded search for related topics, photos, and videos.

fifty shades - related content

Fifty Shades – related content


So once someone is interested in Valentine’s Day, Facebook will automatically suggest similar content. For Fifty Shades, or any other brand, it’s a great opportunity to reach more people. This is why it is so important to correctly describe and tag uploaded videos – you will reach a wider audience and gain new users.

You can never know too much about your target audience

Target audience, buyer personas, we’ve mentioned it all dozens of times. But do you know and understand them better yet?

We can assume that the Fifty Shades producers probably already know that their target audience are mostly women, aged 21-44, with a high interest in motherhood and online shopping. They also probably know that their husbands aren’t so excited to watch the movie. But hey, we all know that partners can be persuasive 😉

Interests of the target group in relation to motherhood

Interests of the target group related to motherhood


We’ve digged a bit more into what the Fifty Shades fans in UK are interested in. Some of the results are unsurprising, but others are quite interesting! For example, we found that the target audience has a high interest in video games and gambling!

Interests of the target group related to games

Interests of the target group related to games

What’s more, they are quite into weddings, but when it comes to marriage – not so much! The target audience is also really into reading (both books and newspapers) and travelling.

Interests on the target group related to weddings

Interests on the target group related to weddings

With social media, it’s easy to learn this information! And yes, we can help: just check out our Audience Scan!

Find your niche

Let’s get back to the roots of Fifty Shades. Why are the books and movies such a massive worldwide success? The author of the book just found the right niche. There aren’t many modern productions, especially targeted towards women, that provide an answer to their interests.


Demography structure of the target group in the UK

Demography structure of the target group in the UK

While the topic represents a niche, the audience is actually quite broad, which is also one of the findings from our Audience Scan analysis. Within the United Kingdom alone, the target audience (only including women) is a group of more than 600 000 people! And in the UK the second official trailer was seen more than 13 million times!

Number of views & fans in UK

Number of views & fans in UK

For one, the plot of Fifty Shades might be simply interesting for single or middle-aged women, while for others rather unbelievable and shocking (e.g. for women in India and Islamic countries). But nevertheless, it attracts people; no matter what their reasons may be.

Analyze your social media efforts with Sotrender's 2-week free trial!

5 ready takeaways from our Fifty Shades analysis:

  1. When launching new products or services, remember about timing. Choose the best time; a time when your clients will be most interested in buying it! Create opportunities and present benefits. Know your market and create a proper plan.
  2. Knowing your target audience won’t hurt. Always try to find out more about them, no matter what. Survey? Research? Conversation? You choose!
  3. Remember that a Global Page consists of other Market Pages and it’s essential to analyze them as well, not only the overall performance.
  4. Don’t underestimate the power of video content on Facebook. Take advantage of new possibilities given by the platform and reach more people. Always remember to be consistent and provide content which is valuable to your target audience.
  5. Find a niche which will bring you profit. Think outside the box and be creative, there is still many to discover! Remember that it’s possible to go from a niche topic into the mainstream, but not the other way round.

Huge thanks to the Data Science Team at Sotrender, especially Natalia, Kuba & Maciek, for the entire analysis!

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