Shark Week’s Social Mentions Rebounded Following a Disappointing 2016

Discovery's premier event did fall short of 2015's online chatter

Social mentions for Shark Week increased from 2016.

Discovery’s Shark Week programming stunt usually represents the peak time of the year for the cable network’s social mentions, and Shark Week’s return to July this year led to a bigger bite.

Social analytics provider Socialbakers analyzed social mentions of this year’s Shark Week, which aired on Discovery July 23 through 30, and it found that mentions of Discovery on Facebook and Twitter were up compared with 2016, but fell short of 2015 numbers.

Searches for Shark Week on Google followed a similar pattern.

The social mentions rebounded during the most-watched Shark Week in Discovery’s history, including an average audience of 5 million viewers for the headline event, Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs. Great White.

Socialbakers pointed out that Shark Week returned to its traditional spot in July this year, after airing in June last year, which may explain 2016’s disappointing figures.

Brands that posted about Shark Week on the two social networks included BMW, GoPro, Delta Air Lines, Apple’s iTunes App Store, Google Play, Microsoft Windows, Lego and Burger King.

Celebrities didn’t share many posts about Shark Week, but the few who did scored higher engagement on Facebook and Twitter than the average Shark Week-related post.

Socialbakers said a post from late actor Paul Walker (Walker filmed a Shark Week segment in 2013 before his death) drew the most engagement on Facebook, but added that posts from Walker often score well in engagement, so the success of this post was not necessarily due to Shark Week.

This tweet from Olympic Games swimming legend Michael Phelps—who “raced” a great white shark as part of Shark Week—was the most engaging tweet about Shark Week this year.

Posts on Facebook and Twitter that contained the shark emoji averaged more engagements than posts that lacked the emoji.