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Social Video Trends for ‘Clarice’, ‘Rock the Block’, ‘Genius: Aretha’

Show promos are a staple of TV advertising, helping networks to soak up excess ad inventory and ensuring a drumbeat of viewer awareness for current and upcoming series. But TV screens are just one way to reach audiences — as people spend more time in front of their computers and phones, networks are leveraging social video as well. 

Using insights from Tubular Labs and iSpot.tv, we examined three shows — Clarice, Rock the Block and Genius: Aretha — that networks have recently been promoting on TV to see how they’re being advertised on social video.

Rebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling in CBS's 'Clarice'

Rebecca Breeds as Clarice Starling in CBS's 'Clarice' (Image credit: Brooke Palmer ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc.)

Clarice, the new CBS series based on the novel The Silence of the Lambs, is the No. 1 TV show promo so far in 2021, with 2.8 billion TV ad impressions, 449.5 million of which have occurred in March, per iSpot. CBS has taken a multi-pronged approach on social video: The show has its own Twitter and Facebook accounts, and CBS has also promoted it through the parent account. 

The initial promotions for Clarice came from the main CBS YouTube account, with two videos uploaded on May 19, 2020: “First Look at the New 2020-2021 CBS Primetime Schedule,” with just a brief mention of the show, while “Clarice - New Drama Coming Soon to CBS,” featured co-creators and executive producers Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet talking about the genesis of the series. But most of the action is taking place on the Clarice-specific accounts.

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Twitter has been the main vehicle for official promotional videos around the show, with 99 posted so far. The first Twitter video to go live was the same version of the teaser that was posted to YouTube. Leading up to the premiere, the Clarice Twitter account posted additional short clips, all highly stylized to give a creepy vibe, much in line with the show’s aesthetic. 

The most-viewed Twitter video, with 4.3 million views, was a Jan. 11 clip encouraging users to like the tweet for a reminder about the Feb. 11 premiere, while the second-place Twitter video by views (1.3 million), was a much more traditional promo akin to what you see on TV. Since then, Clarice has released short clips from the show, as well as cast and crew commentary, on Twitter.

Rock the Block season 2

(Image credit: HGTV)

In the cable world, HGTV has been putting major muscle behind season two of Rock the Block, which premiered March 8. It’s appeared in iSpot’s Promo Mojo ranking each week so far this month

According to iSpot, Rock the Block promos have racked up 686 million TV ad impressions in March alone, making it the No. 2 most-seen TV promo for the month overall.

HGTV has also uploaded 19 season two-related Rock the Block videos to its parent account on Facebook. The first, posted on Oct. 6, revealed the talent lineup with a typical COVID-era virtual video call. It’s generated 94.8K views, almost all of which occurred in the first week, according to Tubular. The next Facebook video, which went up on Feb. 13 and has 38.2K views, feels more like a traditional TV promo, complete with the lower-third promoting the premiere date. 

In March, HGTV used Facebook to reveal sneak peeks, advertise the premiere, engage fans and share clips from the show. The most-seen Facebook video for season two is “Rock the Block: Team Brian and Mika,” with 263K views, 231K of which occurred in the first week, per Tubular.

Aretha Franklin, played by Cynthia Erivo, performs on stage after being crowned "Queen of Soul".

Aretha Franklin, played by Cynthia Erivo, performs on stage after being crowned "Queen of Soul". (Image credit: National Geographic/Richard DuCree)

Finally, a look at National Geographic’s Genius: Aretha, which premiered on March 21 and is the third in the network’s Genius anthology. According to iSpot, TV promos for the limited series racked up 588.7 million TV ad impressions in March, and 844.7 million in total so far this year. 

Nat Geo has taken a somewhat modest approach on social video, with a few videos uploaded across YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. YouTube has the most clips (eight), and the most-viewed one is the initial trailer, posted June 25, 2020, with 653K views, nearly all of which occurred in the first month, per Tubular.

Of the top five most-watched Genius: Aretha YouTube videos, four are trailers with view counts ranging from 110K to 653K, while No. 5 is a behind-the-scenes look posted in August, with 73.7K views.

A recent video takes a different route: In mid-March, Nat Geo uploaded “All Hail the Queen: HBCU Band Tribute,” hosted by Lance Gross and presented by Genius: Aretha