‘House of Cards’ Sees Unusual Social-Media Spike Ahead of Season 3

Netflix original series “House of Cards” continues to strengthen its foundation with a surge of social-media fans ahead of the premiere of the show’s third season, which bows Friday.

House of Cards” has acquired double the number of social-media fans ahead of its third season than it had ahead of its second season — quite an atypical phenomenon, according to data from ListenFirst Media, a data and analytics company that aids brands in understanding their online presence.

“The strong growth in momentum among the ‘House of Cards’ social fanbase is unusual — a show’s social growth typically slows after the first or second season,” said Jason Klein, co-CEO and co-founder of ListenFirst, via email.

In the six weeks before season two of the Kevin Spacey political drama bowed on Netflix in February 2014, the show’s Facebook and Twitter pages saw a combined increase of nearly 165,000 fans.

In the same six-week time frame this year, there has been a 334,000-fan increase on Facebook and Twitter. A significant spike in online fans occurred when Spacey won the Golden Globe for lead actor in a drama series in mid-January, a feat that was mentioned frequently on the show’s social sites.

The Netflix hiccup that temporarily leaked season three of “House of Cards” Feb. 11 (more than two weeks ahead of season three’s intended Feb. 27 bow) undoubtedly had an impact on the pre-season three bump. The day after the leak, “House of Cards” gained just shy of 30,000 more fans combined on Facebook and Twitter, a 742% increase from the day before. The majority of those fans flocked to Twitter, most likely a result of the account’s self-aware tweet about the incident: “This is Washington. There’s always a leak.”

The tweet in question immediately became the “House of Cards” account’s best-performing tweet of 2015, with more than 24,000 retweets and counting.

ListenFirst also discovered that although the social fanbase (the combined number of “likes” on Facebook and followers on Twitter)  has indeed increased more rapidly this season, fewer people are searching for “House of Cards” information online than did so last year. Immediately prior to season two, the show’s Wikipedia page (a proxy for Google search) was viewed 759,000 times, while the season-three lead-up has generated only about 720,000 views. There was, however, another boost in organic search interest when Spacey won the Golden Globe.

Of course, there’s no guarantee that those who search for “House of Cards” or subscribe to its social accounts will definitely tune in. But Klein sees the data as cause for optimism for Netflix. “While some of it could be the result of well-targeted paid campaigns, the show’s relatively consistent engagement levels year-round suggest that new fans are still hopping on the bandwagon, and existing fans are staying excited and perhaps rewatching previous seasons.”

All 13 episodes of season three of “House of Cards” hit Netflix (for real, this time) on Feb. 27.

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