What Google Trends says about “show of the summer” debate - Show Snob

What Google Trends says about “show of the summer” debate - Show Snob

What Google Trends says about “show of the summer” debate - Show Snob

Posted: 03 Aug 2019 12:00 AM PDT

There are countless ways to look at the "show of the summer" debate. What can Google Trends bring to the table as an analytics tool about TV?

The "show of the summer" competition is something I've been monitoring with great interest. I first touched on it two months ago and tried to figure out whether Big Little Lies, Stranger Things, The Handmaid's Tale, Black Mirror or Succession would take the TV crown.

(Credit to Google Trends for charts) 

I've been looking for the show that has the strongest combination of two factors 1). was well received well by critics and audiences AND 2) generated significant attention and conversation.

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I recently took a look at the current state of the "show of the summer" debate and came away with the following conclusions. Stranger Things had been the best show thus far, but releasing the entire season at once may have limited the attention and conversation dedicated to the show.

I felt Big Little Lies, which had held the audience's attention every Sunday night, might have an edge in this regard. Season two had received some mixed reviews, but with one episode remaining, I felt a strong conclusion could put it over the top.

Although I personally really enjoyed the season finale, the reception seemed to be fairly negative. Although Euphoria and Handmaid's Tale have episodes remaining and Succession hasn't even started its season yet, it currently looks like Stranger Things has a real path to victory.

As part of reassessing the case for Netflix's hit show, I decided to take a deeper look at what I thought was holding the show back in the competition. Did releasing the entire season at once REALLY limit the attention and conversation given to the show?

With limited Netflix viewership data, it's difficult to answer this question through this lens. Google Trends, however, might be just the tool to do so.

Google Trends allows the user to look at Google's search trends for any term you can imagine. It not only shows how search results for a term have risen and fallen over time, but it also shows where the term has been most popular geographically. In terms of evaluating attention and conversation about a show, looking at Google search results seems like a solid way to do it.

The below chart illustrates the level of search results for the competing TV shows over the last few months. Searches for Black Mirror spiked up at its June 5th release date but then fell off after. Big Little Lies and Euphoria got bumps with their weekly releases, and Handmaid's Tale hasn't been able to keep up.


The real story is Stranger Things, which has received a ton of "search attention" since its July 4th release date. Not only was its initial spike way beyond anything the other shows have generated, but it's maintained much higher search levels in the month following its release. It's closer now, but Stranger Things is still leading the way.

The next chart tells a similar story, demonstrating the show has generated the most search results in every state.


It certainly appears my concern was misguided. If Netflix's release strategy has limited the attention and conversation around the show, it's not a problem, as Stranger Things is already generating way more "search attention" than its competitors.

Next: The current state of the "show of the summer" competition

Again, the summer isn't over yet, and there's the potential for HBO's Succession to take advantage of its August release date and grab everyone's attention. But if things go as expected, Stranger Things should probably get fitted for its crown.

Which TV series do you think will be the "show of the summer"? Be sure to tell us in the comment section below!


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