Every summer, more than 130,000 attendees pour into California for the United States’ single largest fandom convention, San Diego Comic-Con International (SDCC). SDCC 2019 will be the 52nd iteration of this massive event, which had an estimated economic impact of $147 million last year.
Founded in 1970, the con is considered the gathering place for fans to meet and learn more about their favorite pop-culture passions. SDCC is also a major media event where audiences can get sneak previews for TV, movies, and comic book franchises.
Physically, the con takes place from July 18 through 21, but in the digital age the party starts sooner. Brands and influencers begin hinting at their SDCC 2019 plans months in advance, and for a convention with a reputation for dropping huge reveals and exclusive products, every early announcement has the potential for spectacle.
We can already guess which panels could be packed thanks to a bustling social conversation online. Here are the top-viewed brand and influencer videos for SDCC 2019 ranked by traffic in the past 90 days:
Based on these five traffic leaders, and plenty more in the top 50, we can discern two distinct trends surrounding SDCC’s early hype:
SDCC 2019 Trend #1: V1 Traffic
In the lead-up to SDCC, brands and influencers get an immediate return on investment for social video posts. Whether they’re planning on actually attending or just keeping an eye on the announcements, Comic-Con fans flock to SDCC content as soon as it posts.
As a result, these videos tend to have very high traffic based on V1 through V3 (day one through day three views) metrics.
Beyond the Brick’s Lego build may be the second most popular on our ranking, but it’s the one with the most impressive climb: it was posted just under a week ago, and its traffic chart looks almost like a vertical line.
Likewise, Amazon’s trailer for Carnival Row, a new series set to premiere at the con, garnered most of its 2.5M views within three days of being posted.
Though most other SDCC content is less dramatic, videos surrounding the convention tend toward this V1/V3 trend. They’re all tied in a timely way to the event, so fans want to find out about new announcements as quickly as possible.
And if there’s a giveaway involved, as with the Lego video or Kevin Smith’s Comic-Con sweepstakes, it’s all the more urgent for fans.
Takeaway: SDCC’s hyped-up lead-in easily lends itself to viewer urgency. Brands and influencers can feed into that by tying their videos to limited opportunities, like exclusive giveaway offers or sneak previews of convention announcements.
SDCC 2019 Trend #2: Fan Content
Fans aren’t just sitting around quietly waiting for SDCC announcements to drop. They’re also remixing what they have and making their own predictions.
Two of the top five videos in the rankings aren’t even brand content at all, but wishful thinking from fans about what might be.
The Flash is set to premiere its 6th season with a special video screening on Saturday at the con. Creator aaronwhatson couldn’t wait and envisioned his own idea of that might look like. Warner Bros. TV fans rewarded his creativity with 1.3M views.
The Walking Dead is another show that’s set to premiere a new season at SDCC. Though the franchise itself hasn’t aired a trailer yet, one of its most devoted fans made their own.
“Comic-Con is coming up pretty soon, which means a new trailer for The Walking Dead. I’m really excited and I wanted to make a little trailer myself. This is how I would love season 10 to be,” wrote Kekker of this fan-made trailer, which quickly earned 917K views. Though viewers will have to wait until the con for the official trailers, these fan creations show it’s fun to speculate.
Takeaway: Brands and influencers who are part of the SDCC conversation are already getting viewers’ attention, leading to imaginative output like these fan-made trailers. Through contests or other incentives, brands can encourage even more creativity from their fans.
As SDCC approaches, brands and fans double up their involvement in the online conversation surrounding the con’s pop culture extravaganza. It goes without saying that the announcements that occur during the event will give audiences something to talk about for months.
But as the teasers get earlier every year, it’s clear that the hype begins long before the con’s opening day.