These Data Visualizations Show How Facebook and Instagram Users Reacted to Prince’s Unexpected Death

A purple presence

Headshot of Christopher Heine

The world has mourned Prince Rogers Nelson since the musical genius' shocking death on April 21.

The tributes have been ongoing for the artist, even as the investigation around his demise continues to generate buzz. And since Prince was a digital innovator, it's interesting to see how his passing played out on social media during the month of April. 

Produced by Facebook IQ, the Hot Topics data visualizations below measure the subjects that drove disproportionately high volume on each platform last month on Facebook and Instagram. It marks the latest segment in a Facebook-Adweek series that began in September.

The Purple One was more than a blip on the screen, for sure. (Scroll down for analysis.)


On Facebook IQ's radar, the topic of Prince provided no less than three major moments, entailing his namesake, his song "Purple Rain" and his record label, Paisley Park Records.

Considering the other big storylines last month—Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill, the death of country singer Merle Haggard and the debut of Game of Thrones' sixth season—Prince was obviously treasured by music fans on social media worldwide.



The Instagram buzz was comparable for Prince, unsurprisingly. Once again, his namesake and Purple Rain generated a ton of digital mentions. 

Though images are key to the mobile app, so it's important to take note of Earth Day making its mark in such a noticeable fashion. Environmentally-minded marketers might want to take note and plan Instagram posts—scenic photos from national parks, perhaps—for the event next April. 

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.