This year, ITV2’s Love Island took to our screens for the third year running. Those that know their reality TV (and admittedly there’s a few in the Summit office) will be aware that Celebrity Love Island started way back in 2005. Although the show only ran for two seasons, it came back with a bang in 2015 with a non-celebrity line up and Caroline Flack at the helm as host.

For those who haven’t seen the show, the premise involves single contestants entering a villa with the aim of coupling up. To get their hands on the £50,000 prize money, they must then convince the public that their love is true.

As the last three series have evolved, so has the programme’s popularity. A record 2.4m viewers tuned in for the finale on Monday night; up 1.3m from last year’s figures. But what is it that has increased the interest of the show’s audience and for many, made the show 100% their type on paper?

Google searches for ‘Love Island’ over the last three years. Source: Google Trends 

Shareable content

In a world where we are bombarded by content from the moment we wake up until we put our head on the pillow at night, content really is everywhere we look. Whether it’s reading an article shared by a friend on Facebook, watching a recipe on YouTube or downloading your favourite podcast, content marketing has the power to resonate with an audience on every level.

Content that is tailored to an audience’s interests does not always need to lead with a promotional motive, but should cater to what the audience is looking for, even if they don’t know what they are looking for at that moment in time.


@LoveIslandNot Twitter Account & Love Island App

Over the last few months, Love Island has spawned a huge amount of user-generated content in the form of memes. These images or videos with humorous accompanying text made fun of the quotes or scenarios that played out in the popular show.

Many memes have gone on to be made into products, helping ITV make additional profit and further the programme’s messaging by providing consumers the opportunity to buy products in the Love Island app.

Love Island App

Over the last few years, memes have become a significant part of how content is shared online. In many instances, memes create an inclusive group for consumers. This can be attributed to an increase in viewing figures as audiences become inquisitive and look to join up dots from the content they see online with offline media such as television. After all, no one who scrolls through their Instagram or Twitter feed wants to feel like they are missing out on the joke.

TV content has been shown to prompt an increase in related online searches, and the tendency of audiences to browse on their phones and tablets while simultaneously watching television creates an opportunity for online advertisers to capitalise. Increasing online activity during opportune moments is likely to yield an increase in revenue.

The benefit of this type of user-generated content is that it puts the consumer first. They are in the driving seat and producing the content being shared. When attributing this type of content to the KRAFT model, its perishable and executional nature mean it reaches its desired audience in a real-time and opportunistic way, having a great impact at the time of distribution.

This type of content gets shared all around the country in a matter of minutes, all the while further building the Love Island brand.

Julie Fleischer’s KRAFT Model

Understanding your audience

Over 7.2m #LoveIsland tweets were created during the seven weeks over which the show aired this summer. With A-lister fans including Stormzy and Liam Gallagher (who even admitted to missing the first night of Glastonbury to tune into his favourite show), the show has gone from strength to strength in pulling in a large and varied audience.

With ratings plummeting for shows such as X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, audiences are looking for new forms of reality TV to quench their thirst. With less of a focus on staged scenes (although we’re not naïve enough to believe Love Island is a documentary) the programme incorporates modern forms of media to entertain and create a sense of relatability.

Mobile phones are used by contestants on each show (“I’ve got a text!”) and audience participation – such as creating tweets – is featured in challenges, which adds a further sense of inclusion.

Influencer marketing

In a saturated market where brands continually struggle against competitors in order to be seen by their audiences, influencer marketing can be the golden bullet in a brand’s strategy.

Influencers, for those who do not know, are individuals who have a large social following on a particular platform. By working with influencers, brands are able to target specific groups and individuals rather than a market as a whole.

Marketing to your audience has increasingly become about specificity and identity. If consumers can identify with products based on their own interests, such as reality TV, they are more likely to feel inclined to buy. Products that are ‘on trend’, such as slogan t-shirts or water bottles, allow the consumer to say ‘I’m part of this group and I know what’s popular!’

But what influencer marketing does, which in itself is unique, is it allows the audience to identify with that person. 49% of people say they rely on recommendations from influencers when making purchase decisions, highlighting the opportunity for brands to further their reach.

With the sponsorship deals rolling in for this year’s contestants now they’ve left the island, it is no wonder that brands are making the most of their new-found fame. With viewing figures as impressive as they were for the programme, a mainly female (67.4%) audience with many falling into the under 35s (63.6%) category, it is a perfect opportunity for brands to reach their target audience by aligning with social platforms such as Instagram, which mirror the audience demographic.

Although these numbers are important, it’s key to understand that an influencer’s content must work in line with a brand’s overall messaging in order to be authentic and encourage a desired action (e.g. sales).

Instagram Demographics – Napoleon Cat March 2017

Instagram Demographics – Napoleon Cat March 2017

Digital marketing expert Jay Baer says ‘true influence drives action, not just awareness.’ While social media influencers may have thousands or millions of followers, if they are not the right fit for your audience it will not drive customers towards your brand, but rather in the other direction.

Influencer marketing used as part of a wider digital marketing mix can have a dramatic impact on a brand’s overall objectives. Ultimately, consumers have the option to tune in or tune out of what is put in front of them, making it crucial the right voice is chosen for your audience.

It is worth noting it is not always those who shout the loudest, but who have the most engaged audience, who reap the rewards. The rise of the micro-influencer has been a key discussion topic of 2017, and this shows no sign of slowing down. Working with influencers who charge less and yet are just as effective is a way for brands to generate a high return for a minimum investment.

The future of influencer marketing ultimately comes down to brands remaining authentic with who they choose to represent their brand and building influencer relationships that will last longer than just a social post.

For more on this topic, download these Econsultancy reports: