How Far Can Social Take You? A Look at the Release of “Beyonce”


Beyonce / Shutterstock

Conventional marketing tactics be damned. Beyonce has proven that the power of social media can create a phenomenon much better than the traditional, costly and extravagant promotional strategies of the past.

On Thursday at midnight the superstar alerted the world about her new album by posting a video announcement on her Instagram account with an accompanying caption simply stating, “Surprise!” From there, Beyonce left it in the hands of her notoriously loyal fanbase to keep the buzz going, and they didn’t disappoint. Immediately upon release of the groundbreaking visual and audio compilation, Beyonce fans were out spreading the word on every social media channel you can think of.

How far does “buzz” go?

It comes as no surprise that social media is an enormously impactful entity in terms of generating and spreading news, but Beyonce’s album release proves how buzz alone can seamlessly translate into dollars and have a profound impact on the bottom line.

The record sales for “Beyonce” speak to the enormous amount of success the album and its unconventional release have already had. According to the New York Times, “The stealth rollout of the album, “Beyoncé,” upended the music industry’s conventional wisdom, and was a smashing success. It sold 365,000 copies in the United States on its first day, according to people with direct knowledge who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss its sales. Depending on how it performed through the weekend, “Beyoncé” will likely have one of the year’s biggest opening sales weeks.”

So how do the numbers look?

But beyond that, Beyonce has succeeded in making a profound impact on the internet, which is also no easy feat. As shown in Compete PRO data, received 65,837 Unique Visitors and experienced both month over month and year over year decreases in the month of November. However, on December 13th, the date of the album release, the site expectedly saw a major spike in traffic. There was a 1071.51% day over day increase in daily reach and a 4074.24% increase in daily attention. To put help put those numbers into context, daily reach illustrates as a percentage how many people visited a specific site in comparison to all consumers online for that particular day. Similarly, daily attention measures how much time was spent on a site in comparison to all consumer time spent online on a given day.

As also shown in November Compete PRO data, some of the top incoming traffic referrers for include personal networking giants Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. Judging by these historical trends, it makes sense that the buzz Beyonce started on Instagram caused the Internet browsing population to take action across the social sphere. People flocked to where they could not only buy the new album, but also purchase concert tickets and merchandise. And Beyonce clearly knows her audience; as Compete PRO outgoing traffic shows, visitors to often navigate immediately to a social networking site one click after visiting the star’s official webpage. Perhaps taking these behavioral patterns into consideration, Beyonce put in motion the perfect storm of social media commotion.

With the oversaturation of information available on social outlets, creating sustained excitement is a challenge in itself. Earning a positive financial impact as a result is even more difficult. However, Beyonce’s revolutionary album release proves that when the right product speaks directly to the right audience in a new and exciting way, social marketing can be the most effective marketing tactic of all, in terms of both reach and profit.

The ROI for Beyonce’s social splash has been relatively easy to quantify, but for brands that don’t have quite as much star power as the diva, success on social channels can be extremely difficult to measure.

Getting ahead with Social Insights

To help alleviate this struggle, Compete PRO launched its Social Insights tool on Monday. It is currently one of the only tools in the market which enables the measurement of the impact of social activities. Social Insights enables marketers to understand which social channels drive the most traffic to a site and determine whether social visitors are more engaged with site content than visitors referred by other channels. With this information, you can mimic Beyonce’s social strategy and hone in on the channels driving the most traffic to your site and your competitors’ site and which campaigns garner success based on engagement metrics. Knowing how to directly reach your audience can cause a social stir, and prompt people to take action.

Even if you’re not releasing a self-titled album, Beyonce’s well-calculated social experiment should serve as a reminder that being well-informed about your social landscape can be the most powerful tool you have.

About Sarah Friedman:
Sarah is a member of the Syndicated Products Customer Success team at Millward Brown Digital. Sarah attended Northeastern University. Prior to Millward Brown Digital, Sarah worked in Advertising and Public Relations. Connect with her on Google+ or LinkedIn