With Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s royal wedding buzzing on social, we take a look at which stories are royally share-worthy.
Do you have royals on the brain? Have you watched “The Crown” several times over? Did you watch the Christmas Prince every day after it came out? Did you fact-check the “Meghan and Harry” Lifetime movie?
— Aisling Ennis (@aislingrosennis) May 17, 2018
If this is you, don’t worry. You’re not the only one hooked on the Cinderella story of Meghan Markle.
According to an estimate by Britain’s Office of National Statistics, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding could generate about £500 million or $680 million. In 2011, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials lured about 350,000 visitors to the U.K.
There are so many platforms and apps now than when Prince William and Kate Middleton married in 2011. Instagram was just a year old then, Snapchat and Vine had yet to make an appearance, and the thought that social media platforms could influence elections was probably laughable.
How is the social media universe reacting to the royal wedding? Using our social database, NewsWhip Analytics, we took a look.
What’s the social media buzz like for the royal wedding?
How much do people actually care? Ask your average Brit (or our editorial researcher, Benedict) and they’ll tell you the royal wedding is old hat. (How many royals have they had compared to the U.S., after all?)
Looking at NewsWhip Analytics, we noticed that across different platforms, there are very different patterns in how users are engaging ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.
Take a look at Facebook engagements to web content below:
On Facebook, the engagements around Prince Harry and Meghan Markle peaked when they announced their engagement.
Prior to that, the two had been driving buzz for other stories, but the engagement news reached 10 million engagements on web content alone, just in November. The stories are picking up social media steam again as we approach the wedding day.
Pinterest, while nowhere near as viral as Facebook, tells a different story about how audiences engage with content on the platform:
If anything, November was just the spark. Since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement, Pinterest buzz has only grown steadily, month by month, reaching 80,000 pins for royal wedding-related content in April.
Let’s dive into just which stories have been the most shareable on social.
What are the top stories for the royal wedding?
To get the full scope of which stories were the most shareable, we looked at November 2017 through May 15th, 2018. Below are the top web stories, ranked by their Facebook shares, likes, comments, and reactions when shared to Facebook.
If you thought U.S. politics had no place in a British wedding, well, you’d be wrong. In the top 50 stories around the wedding, nearly 20 percent were connected to U.S. politics. Only 4 percent pertained to U.K. politics.
Amid the political stories, we saw a few fake news stories in the top 50, primarily from Your Newswire. They followed the same theme about whether politicians were invited or “banned” from the wedding.
Beyond these, announcements of the couple getting engaged were the most reoccurring topic within the top stories.
Stories with an emotional, feel-good or dramatic element, also featured heavily, like LittleThings’ story about Meghan Markle’s dog. There were a few stories that touched on diversity, like the one above from the Black Loop.
Other stories poked fun at the wedding, such as “Successful actress Meghan Markle to wed former soldier“, from Joe.co.uk.
With the wedding just a few days away, how has the narrative shifted on Facebook? We limited our analysis to just the articles created this month.
The stories are nearly completely different now, focused on the wedding itself. Stories are focused on tangential tie-ins to the wedding, along with actual facets of the wedding itself. The U.S. bishop who will be giving an address at the wedding appeared three times in the top ten.
How people outside of the couple are reacting to the wedding is the big theme here. Everyone from Camilla Bowles to Princess Diana’s siblings to Rihanna to Will Ferrell and Molly Shannon feature in the top ten stories.
On that note, some of the stories belie a good deal of drama. There’s an emotional component to scandal, much like the political stories, that makes them so shareable.
Which royal wedding stories went big on Pinterest?
When we looked at the top stories ranked by Pinterest, a very different theme emerged. On Pinterest, the top stories around Meghan Markle and Prince Harry seem like hero worship.
The top ten posts since Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s engagement have come from the Daily Mail. Indeed, half of the top 50 stories on Pinterest came from the Daily Mail.
While Pinterest is traditionally considered a platform for recipes, fashion, and crafts, it’s interesting to see how well content around the royals is doing.
In fact, the Daily Mail has seen marked growth on the platform, due to its coverage of the British royals.
Beyond the usual content trends, inspiration does well on the platform.
Empowerment on Facebook
Jumping back to Facebook, let’s take a look at the native content trends. It’s critical to understand how each platform responds to a topic differently.
Interestingly, the top Facebook posts around Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were about Meghan’s statements at the United Nations Women conference in 2015. Four of the top ten posts were about her speech.
Beyond that, announcements of the engagement again went viral, as did a humorous post from the WWE. Beyond the top ten, coverage of the royals, their wedding planning, and reactions of others featured. Meghan as a feminist and biracial role model was a prevalent theme. U.S. politics again make an appearance, though less substantially as on the web.
We typically see video as the most compelling format, but when we looked at the top 100 posts, there was more of a variation. Photos accounted for 39 percent of the top 100 posts, followed by non-live video at 37 percent, links at 19 percent, live video at four percent, and one status rounding it out.
Understanding the right format, and the right message, can help you connect with your audience further. One fun way that is is through the use of emoji. As we’ve seen before, emotional content is shareable content, and emoji can be used to elicit an emotional response.
That in mind, we took a look at the top Facebook posts, month-by-month, around Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, to see if there was an uptick in emoji in the captions.
Interestingly enough, the hypothesis was correct. As we’ve approached the wedding and buzz has continued to build, the top posts have had more emoji. So which emoji were used in the most engaging posts?
Hearts and rings were the most prevalent, but there were a few crying and broken heart emoji, often in reference to posts where people were sad that Prince Harry wouldn’t be fulfilling their wishes of being the next British royal.
The most creative emoji usage went to the BBC, for a video about a “royal fist bump“: 👑🤜🤛🇬🇧.
So there you have it! Whether you’re excited for the royal wedding or not, it’s clear that social media is an ecosystem unto itself, changing the way that we consume and share the stories we care about. To check out the stories predicted to go viral right now, take a demo of NewsWhip Spike.