Was Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018 A Success? Or Not?

The annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018 was aired on ABC Network on 2 December. 

2018 was a challenging year for Victoria’s Secret.

The American lingerie company is facing declining sales, same-store sales numbers at Victoria’s Secret stores are down 5% – or 1% including its online sales. The slowdown in growth is most likely due to the increasing competition from online upstarts, department stores and big retailers such as Gap, which are dominating the market share.

Companies such as ThirdLove and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty have established themselves by offering a wider range of sizes – plus-size inclusive and no-wire bras. Lower prices also plays a part in the appeal, which analysts say is likely to hurt Victoria’s Secret’s profit margins in the future.

To add salt to the wound, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands said during an interview with Vogue, that he has no plans to cater to the plus-size customer or featuring the “transsexuals”.


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Let’s Go! #VSFashionShow has started!!! ❤💋

A post shared by ABC (@abcnetwork) on

According to ABC, only 3.3 million people tuned in to watch the fashion show when it aired on December 2 this year, down from 5 million viewers in 2017 and 6.7 million in 2016, when it previously aired on CBS. The number halved in just 2 years.

Number doesn’t always speak the truth.

Living in a society where information is easily accessible, most people don’t enjoy the luxury of time to sit and watch the entire 45-minute show. Social media platforms like Instagram has become an amazingly handy tool for the brand and its models to maximise the audience reach and keeping their followers updated.

Audience Reach

Although the show was officially aired on 2 December, fashion runway took place and was taped by ABC Network on 8 November in New York City.

According to our previous analysis, the campaign already generated 10 million views from the 60 participating models and 8 musicians on 8 November. To recall how the data was collected, a live campaign was created based on the #VSFashionShow hashtag or @VictoriasSecret tag and limited the analysis to the posts of the 68 influencers’ accounts. Therefore, User Generated Content ( UGC) is not included in this analysis.

Check out the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018 analysis Part 1 here.

As of 31 December, a total of 1400 posts and 498 stories were created by 65 influencers, with a potential reach of 320.4 million users worldwide, garnering approximately 106 million engagement (104.9M views + 954.5K comments)!

Engagement by Victoria’s Secret
Engagement by ABC Network

The graph above proves that Instagram is the most effective social media platform in allowing users to keep up with the show before it was released to the public. The total likes and views skyrocketed to 32 million and 22 million respectively when the event took place on 8th Nov, as compared to 18 million engagement on 2 Dec. Let’s be real, I can’t be sitting and waiting for the show to be aired a month later when I can peep through the models and their outfits via their Instagram stories and posts!

While the view rate on ABC channel may be low, their engagement reached a peak of 9.5 million likes and 2.4 million views on their Instagram account on 2 Dec. That is more than double of the people who tuned in the channel for the show. Again, most followers prefer short clips over long video.

As compared to the analysis on 8 Nov, the campaign’s average Likes dropped from +46.69% to +44.06%. Partly due to more posts were created which may have diluted the hype from the public. However, the average Views shows +117.28%, an 12% increase from previous analysis.
In short, the campaign successfully obtained much higher engagement as we can tell that the audience had a stronger interest in the content relevant to the campaign than in the usual posts published by the influencers.

Share of Voice

There are some changes to the engagement’s share of voice since the report in November. Kendall Jenner continues to hold the largest share in engagement (thanks to her 100M followers) and Sara Sampaio dropped in ranking. The top 5 influencers who contributed the most likes and comments are:

  1. Kendall Jenner (12.12%)
  2. Barbara Palvin (7.82%)
  3. Gigi Hadid (7.07%)
  4. Sara Sampaio (6.27%)
  5. Taylor Hill (5.98%)

The 5 supermodels have a total of 174 million followers and are contributing 40% of the engagement in the campaign!

However, large engagement share doesn’t always mean good performance for some influencers as well.

There is a reason why Kendall Jenner is crowned as the highest paid model in the industry, she can guarantee the highest engagement for the campaign. With just 4 posts, 19 million likes and comments were garnered which are performing better than her other posts by +53.17%.

On the other hand, Barbara Palvin who has 1/10 of Kendall’s followers, required 17 posts to generate 13.3 million engagement to top the second place. However, more posts doesn’t translate into better performance as they received 2.77% less engagement than her other posts. Perhaps the trick here is when you limit the content, it makes followers crave for more.

Post Insights

Here come the top 3 posts of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018: Kendall, Kendall and…..Kendall.

It seems that Jenner’s followers have a much higher interest in the content relevant to the partnership with Victoria’s Secret. Her top 2 posts received 5.3 million Likes+Comments each, which is at least +71% higher engagement than her other posts. This also means that her engagement rate almost doubled to 5% on average.

If you think Victoria’s Secret is the only beneficiary receiving all the attentions and publicities, that is not quite true. It is always a win-win deal between the brand and models. Through a combination of well-established and fresh models, VS is able to reach out to a vast connection of new audiences who are unfamiliar with the brand, aka awareness campaign. As for the influencers who work with a gigantic organisation like VS, they experience rapid audience growth, increase in engagement, career growth as more brands approach for collaborations.

This is commonly experienced by models who walked on the VS runway for the first time.

Iesha Hodges continues to be crowned as the Queen of Performance, holding the No. 1 rank in engagement. Be prepared to be blown away by numbers. A picture posted by her on 9 November has accumulated 69.8K engagement, she had only 22.8K followers then. That gave her +2827.82% more engagement as compared to her other posts, +144% in engagement rate. Ranking 2nd is Sabah Koj with the statistics half of Iesha.

And I’m not done with the numbers yet! Iesha’s number of followers began to surge few days prior to the fashion show. With more than 62% of her audience is female, and they continue to expand with an aggressive audience growth of 23.69% per month. Her audience size doubled in less than 2 months! In addition, each of her pictures gathers 8.84% engagement rate on average, and 208.61% video views! All hail Iesha Hodges, Queen of Performance!

Check out the Top 5 Victoria’s Secret Angels Whose Follower Number Skyrocketed After The Show here.

Post-Campaign Analysis

So what is the win for Victoria’s Secret for engaging 60 models and 8 musicians?

When their annual fashion event took place, Victoria’s Secret gained 1.1 million followers (+1.83%) in November itself instead of its usual 0.5% audience growth per month prior to the show. As the steep gradient of audience growth continues to extend, VS earned another 970K new followers in December 2018 and shows no sign of slowing down at all.

Despite all the criticisms about being non-inclusive of transgender and plus size, decline in sales and market share, VS is standing in this competitive industry stronger than ever. They continue to explore models coming from various backgrounds, regardless of skin color, hair texture, race and language. They expressed their gratitude for their longest-serving angel, Adriana Lima for dedicating 17 years of her modelling career with Victoria’s Secret, by giving her an exclusive final walk on the stage. Sobs.

Back to my question in this article, I concluded that Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018 was a success. They have succeeded in their awareness campaign with a gain of 6 million new followers in 2018, 1/3 of which was the result of their influencer marketing.

I’m really looking forward to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show of 2019!

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