Between 1 million and 2 million people will watch the return of Mad Men on Sunday night, but based on digital buzz, it seems only die-hard fans and not newcomers will be tuning in.
Digital research from publisher and social media agency Moviepilot predicts that showrunner Matthew Weiner's sublime 1960s drama, now in the conclusive second half of its final season, will not break from its core audience and into more living rooms.
"In the week leading up to the Season 7, Part I, premiere [in 2014], search volume for Mad Men was approximately 118,000," explained Moviepilot CEO Tobi Bauckhage. "And by Season 7's mid-season finale, [weekly] search dropped to 93,000. What we're seeing now is yet another drop, down to 88,000 searches. It would appear awareness and inquiry around Mad Men has steadily dropped over the past year plus, so another dip in ratings wouldn't come as a surprise."
The Season 7 mid-season finale drew an audience of 1.9 million viewers.
Bauckhage's company dug deep into social, search and video data to give marketers an idea of how much buzz—or lack of buzz—April TV premieres are getting. Check out what it learned about Mad Men, Game of Thrones and Daredevil's digital performance in the stats and infographic below.
On Twitter, the AMC drama has been picking up speed heading into Sunday's premiere, with an average of 2,000 tweets a day. That skyrocketed to 14,300 tweets on March 24, after news broke that leading man Jon Hamm had checked out of rehab, per Moviepilot.
According to the Los Angeles-based company, search is the most predictive digital metric of TV viewership for people 35 and older. A week before the season premiere, Mad Men's Google performance looked only decent, with roughly 88,000 searches.
Moviepilot's research also showed that Mad Men is weak on YouTube, where clips and trailers for the upcoming season barely eclipsed 1 million views as of April 1.
"And while other factors certainly contribute, the substantial decline in premiere and finale ratings for Mad Men over the past two years largely reflect those social metrics," said Bauckhage. "Interesting that a show about savvy marketing has—at least to some degree—missed the boat on the social media revolution."
Game of Thrones
This HBO juggernaut is, not surprisingly, a social media phenomenon, with 14.5 million likes and more than 62 million views on Facebook for its various clips, as of this week. Mad Men and Daredevil combined for less than 3 million likes and 7 million views.
And there were 380,000 tweets about GoT in the final week of March, per Moviepilot. That's pretty phenomenal when you consider that the much-hyped film, Furious 7, which premieres today, amassed 247,000 tweets during a week in mid-March, according to the company.
How will the first season of Marvel's Daredevil go when it debuts on April 10? Well, it appears that may largely depend on men—the Netflix show's Facebook audience is 98 percent male, with about 153,000 fans.
What's more impressive: the brand's clips have nearly 18 million YouTube views and an additional 6 million on Facebook. Though Daredevil falls short in other metrics, with 20,000 tweets during the last week of March and less than 40,000 searches—both pale in comparison to even Mad Men.