We were presented with a slew of challenges marketing Casual on social media. The show's theme does not intrinsically have broad appeal, given its nature as a slow burn dramedy. It also was not set up to be a classically "social" show, with an older-skewing audience target, no big "social stars" in the cast, and no linear TV or live tune-in component. Despite those challenges, we were able to leverage the show itself in smart ways in the social space to drive viewership and spread awareness of the series as a "Hulu Original."
Our objective was to use video to highlight content through short-form clips that let the show "sell itself" and give fans an honest look at the show's themes, characters and content. The execution of every video element was deliberately created to make it easier to view, understand, laugh and share.
In order to reach the largest possible audience, we wanted to extract the show's pop culture references into relatable bite-size portions for fans to ingest and share on social media. We created scene lifts with subtitles from salient moments, tapping into the cultural zeitgeist around the hot button topics in the show. Due to autoplay and a general lack of audio usage on mobile devices when viewing social video, the subtitles lowered the barrier of entry for the social audience to consume and engage with the content.
We focused efforts primarily on Facebook to take advantage of the platform's increased focus on video. We wanted to see which content would resonate most with fans before adding paid amplification, so we posted video clips organically and monitored their performance closely. The content that received the most organic engagement was then flagged and supported with paid promotion.
Our targeting strategy for paid promotion consisted of micro-targeting specific interests directly related to the clip at hand. These niche audiences were targeted due to their fervent passion for the topic, increasing the likelihood that the content was shared among their communities. As posts were given paid support, those with engagement numbers outperforming expectations were given further incremental support to continue momentum.
This strategy was best seen through our clip focused on Crossfit, which garnered virality and visibility across Facebook newsfeeds, as well as media attention. After posting organically and receiving high engagement on Facebook, the clip was boosted with a small amount of paid support. The paid support was targeted specifically at the Paleo and Crossfit communities mentioned within the video. This ignited a firestorm of sharing, including a share from the official Crossfit Facebook page. Within hours, the video had millions of organic views and hundreds of thousands of likes, comments and shares.
After this strategy proved successful with the Crossfit video, it was implemented in the coming days and weeks on several other videos pertaining to hot button issues and popular topics, including spinning, yoga, texting and nachos. In addition to show clips, a unique "text typing" video was shared heavily and created to leverage the phenomenon of seeing when other people are writing and the anxiety it causes those who anticipate a message.
Largely driven by the campaign's video strategy, the first season of Casual was a social media success. Leveraging the affinity for video on Facebook, Page Likes grew to over 53,000 during the course of the first season. Overall, the Facebook audience was extremely engaged with the video content, which significantly outperformed all other content throughout the season.
Short form video clips were able to accurately capture the feeling of the show, allowing it "sell itself" and for fans to fall in love with its authentic characters and relatable themes. Every video element was easily viewed and shared, allowing the social audience to grow organically.
Casual was able to reach a broad audience base with massive success, as the CrossFit video alone had organic reach of over 37 million people and over 125,000 shares. Additionally, other videos combined for well over one million total organic reach and over 5,000 shares.
The success of the social media campaign helped contribute to the broad awareness of the show, resulting in a plethora of positive press, a season two renewal, and a Globe Globe nomination in the Best TV Comedy category. This is the first original Hulu show nominated for a Golden Globe, bringing the Hulu Originals brand into the limelight, as the user base of Hulu continues to increase.