May The Force Be With You, Always: How Star Wars The Force Awakens Reached Over 1 Billion Impressions on Instagram Before its Release

Dash Hudson works with aspirational brands to grow their audience and improve business results on Instagram. Sounds awesome, because it is. If you like Instagram, and care about Star Wars even a little, read on.

Ultimate squad goals. Source: @starwars Instagram

We know we know. You've probably had enough of the Star Wars propaganda machine by now. Even Facebook is prompting its global users to change their photos to a special Force Awakens avatar.

But put aside all of the special edition paraphernalia and take a step back. There is some real shit happening out there on social and it isn't something that we often see surrounding a brand. This is a true cultural phenomenon. And it's blowing up.

The Force is certainly with Instagram these days, so we were eager to take a deeper dive to see how Star Wars: The Force Awakens is lighting it up on our favorite social platform.

At first, we weren't quite certain that Star Wars could keep up with the cultural blitzkrieg of the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. When we began digging into the data, it wasn't giving us much hope, and we questioned if we would even see a return of the Jedi.

Ready are you? Keep reading.

I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing
All you need to do is listen to the data and stay away from hermits espousing hokey old religions. First, we looked at the @starwars account on Instagram, with its 2.5m followers. That's pretty solid for the movie / tv category. In comparison, Pretty Little Liars has 4.1m followers.

Growth of the main Star Wars Instagram account.

@starwars added 142k followers alone in the past week, and is accelerating its growth as launch approaches.

John Boyega from The Force Awakens premiere. The top post from the @starwars feed in December, coming in at 163K likes.

Who You Calling Scruffy Looking?
We're just warming up. Much more important to the spread of the force on Instagram is how fans are talking about the brand. Let's start by looking at the content being created by devotees where @starwars is photo tagged or comment mentioned.

Fan and influencer-created content tagging @starwars.

Incredibly, Star Wars has organically reached 244m people on Instagram, from Dec 1 to Dec 16. Its biggest day thus far was on the day of the Hollywood premiere, reaching almost 40m people.

Who's scruffy lookin'? Photo of Harrison Ford shared by @prettylittleliars.

Don't get us wrong, we love that PLL and SW are teaming up (sharing audiences with your pals is a great way to grow), but below is probably the coolest photo from Dec 14. Editor's call.

The coolest photo from Dec 14, posted by @disney.

Finally, below is the most influential post featuring @starwars in the entire month of December. This one may not be for the purists, but the photo was a hit with F21 fans and provided the @starwars account with 679 new followers. Only at the end do you realize the power of the Dark Side.

@forever21 has us thinking the Dark Side is looking pretty good rn.

Accelerating toward launch day faster than an X-Wing.

Now Witness the Power of This Fully Operational Battle Station
Alright, maybe @mentions aren't as rich in the midi-chlorians as we thought. But what about hashtags? Stay on target, cuz you're in for something big.

The main Star Wars hashtag, #starwars, has been used an incredible 129,280 times since December 1st, reaching a galaxy-bursting 844m people.

These ARE the droids you are looking for.

Hashtag, Star Wars.

The most popular hashtags used in conjunction with #starwars were #theforceawakens, #darthvader, #stormtroooper and #disney. #jedi fell into fifth place, showing the Sith still have a strong grip on the Republic.

The movie-specific hashtag, #theforceawakens was used 27,334 times in December, reaching a total of 267m people.

A Billion Points of Light
All told, the Star Wars franchise, across the main branded tags of @starwars, #starwars and #theforceawakens has created a star destroying 1.3 BILLION impressions in the month of December.


Stay tuned, as we'll bring you Episode II on how Star Wars: The Force Awakens crushes Instagram after opening weekend.