It was the explosive finale that rocked the fans’ world — but Pretty Little Liars’ (@ABCFpll) huge reveal didn’t just happen on TV. It took place live on Twitter, breaking records along the way.
The finale of the @ABCFamily show was the most social program on TV yesterday, with 1,973,418 Tweets. According to SocialGuide, the episode broke all records for a scripted TV series. It was up 16% from the previous season’s summer PLL finale figure (1,701,125 Tweets). This was the highest figure ever recorded for a scripted show until PLL broke its own record last night.
PLL’s finale promotion
The social media campaign began with a daily countdown of the show’s Top 10 most shocking reveals.
The #2 biggest reveal in PLL history was when Toby was on the A-Team! #PLLreveals #WorldWarA pic.twitter.com/LviSlVwtwK— Pretty Little Liars ( @ABCFpll) August 26, 2013
Using the hashtag #WorldWarA (to denote the explosive denouement) the social media team tweeted ahead of the show to build excitement, using the hashtag on-air.
.@eonline says #WorldWarA is going to blow your mind! They chatted with @sashaapieterse in their latest Spoiler Chat! http://t.co/JF5fiaZshI— Pretty Little Liars ( @ABCFpll) August 27, 2013
The #1 biggest reveal in PLL history is yet to come! Watch #PLL tonight to find out! #PLLreveals #WorldWarA pic.twitter.com/PuzLrcAOU1— Pretty Little Liars ( @ABCFpll) August 27, 2013
Cast members took part too:
It’s finally here. Tonight is #WorldWarA for #PrettyLittleLiars! Do NOT miss the biggest reveal we’ve ever had on the show!!— Janel Parrish ( @JMeilanixo) August 27, 2013
The team retweeted excitement from the fans:
W Wo Wor Worl World WorldW WorldWa WorldWar WorldWarA #WorldWarA tonight @ABCFpll— Samantha Nicole ( @4EvaAriGrande_) August 27, 2013
This was combined with reminder Tweets in the moments before the finale:
One hour ‘til #WorldWarA! Are you reAdy, EST/CST fans? WE ARE!!! #PrettyLittleLiars— Pretty Little Liars ( @ABCFpll) August 27, 2013
During the show
Star Lucy Hale got in on the fun by live-tweeting the show:
My reaction photo #PLLReaction pic.twitter.com/H0dZBUXHCy— Lucy Hale ( @lucyhale) August 28, 2013
After the final reveal, an onscreen call to action urged fans to immediately tweet their #PLLReaction photos:
OMG #PLLReaction @ABCFpll pic.twitter.com/JUF0pybeoI— Elyse Partridge ( @elysepartridge) August 28, 2013
How ABC Family used PLL to promote a new fall launch
The ABC Family social media team took advantage of the buzz around the finale to publicize its new PLL spinoff #Ravenswood, which premieres in October. The network challenged PLL viewers to unlock a portion of a photo tweeted out by star Tyler Blackburn (@tylerjblackburn), who will also be part of the cast of Ravenswood. Called the #RavenswoodReveal challenge, a portion of a photo that reveals a clue into the mystery of Ravenswood was revealed as each Tweet was unlocked.
Hey guys! Here’s your 1st piece of the #RavenswoodReveal. RT 1022 times and @merrittpattrsn will give you another! pic.twitter.com/7nKfaAMY1E— Tyler Blackburn ( @tylerjblackburn) August 28, 2013
To unlock a Tweet, it had to be retweeted 1022 times — a reference to the October 22 premiere date. Castmates Nicole Gale Anderson (@HeyItsNicoleA), Brett Dier (@Brettdier), Britne Oldford (@BritneOldford) and Merritt Patterson (@merrittpattrsn) would then tweet out subsequent portions of the photo. The trick: each new piece would only be triggered after the previous portion had been retweeted 1,022 times. Once all of the photo pieces were unlocked, fans needed to assemble the pieces and the resulting photo would divulge a tantalizing secret about Ravenswood.
The challenge worked:
Wow, you guys unlocked the second piece so quickly! Here it is! RT 1022 times and @BrettDier will give you more! pic.twitter.com/EtAvKf0d8H— Merritt Patterson ( @merrittpattrsn) August 28, 2013
This #RavenswoodReveal is on fire! Keep it going! RT 1022 times & @BritneOlford will give you another puzzle piece! pic.twitter.com/imWTYfz3Cx— brett dier ( @Brettdier) August 28, 2013
Here’s the 4th piece of the #RavenswoodReveal! Want the final piece? RT 1022 times & @HeyItsNicoleA will tweet it! pic.twitter.com/pBuUhsfDX6— Britne Oldford ( @BritneOldford) August 28, 2013
Here’s your last piece of the #RavenswoodReveal! Which of you guys will piece this together first? pic.twitter.com/OkMUN68npU— Nicole Anderson ( @HeyItsNicoleA) August 28, 2013
This added up:
Hmmm… #ravenswoodreveal pic.twitter.com/z58TiFJoOa— RJMoments ( @RJMoments) August 28, 2013
Fans excitedly retweeted the reveal of the new show:
FIRST GLIMPSE!!!! #Ravenswood @tylerjblackburn @HeyItsNicoleA @Brettdier @BritneOldford @RavenswoodABCF http://t.co/1S3jWrHfuX— Merritt Patterson ( @merrittpattrsn) August 28, 2013
What the data shows
The show’s Twitter following has been strong from the start, but the most recent episodes have generated an even higher proportion of the total conversation about TV on Twitter.
Do you know about any innovative uses of Twitter in TV? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.