Team Ezria must've been on fire this year because when it comes to digital domination, Pretty Little Liars was queen... Again.
2016's original programming slate was packed with tweetable surprises aplenty: Jon Snow lives! Glenn's a goner (for real this time)! Alec Baldwin murdered his Donald Trump impersonation for the umpteenth time, much to the President-elect's Twittering chagrin! And yet, it's those Liars' restless battles with "Uber A" and "A.D." (and, of course, all those pesky lies) that have made the biggest mark on social media this year.
As reported by Variety, the research firm ListenFirst Media crunched the numbers of social engagements associated with television shows this year, and Pretty Little Liars registered over a quarter of a billion interactions this year.
It certainly makes sense that PLL fans would be so glued to their devices, considering how their show favorites have basically adopted their own phones as new limbs — a case of life imitating art and such — but the numbers are still pretty staggering.
To understand just how impressive PLL's 250 million interactions count is, consider: The runner-up for this year's social media sweetheart show prize was The Walking Dead, and it registered a puny-by-comparison 144.86 million interactions, just over half of what Pretty Little Liars boasted. Negan's brutal game of eeny-meeny-miny-mo didn't even come close to taking down the Rosewood ladies.
(It's worth noting that the vast majority of PLL's engagements came by way of Instagram, which is a prime sphere for sharing those gushy Spoby memes, to be sure.)
Perhaps even more interesting is the fact that HBO's Game of Thrones crowd barely made it into the Top 10 most-buzzed-about programs, coming in at ninth with just 39.66 million charted interactions. This is despite the fact that its fan growth figures (that is, how many followers the show's accounts gained) were far and away the highest of the year's scripted shows; and that its sixth season offered everything from a wildfire royal coup to an epic battle of the bastards, to the long-awaited visual confirmation of the series' most iconic fan theory, R+L=J.
Rounding out the list of crowd-engaging returnees were Teen Wolf, with another severe dip at 70.55 million engagements, then The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, America's Funniest Home Videos, Empire, The Daily Show, Grey's Anatomy, and The Voice.
When it came to newcomer shows, Freeform's social media team slayed once again, with its small screen reboot of The Mortal Instruments, Shadowhunters, besting the rest five-fold, with 60.78 million engagements. Coming in at a distant second was Netflix's Stranger Things, which, with its '80s nostalgia thrills and Eggo-loving protagonist, earned 12.99 million interactions on social media, despite being the runaway in fan growth (tallying 4.35 million new friends, compared to Shadowhunters' 1.09 million).
The brass at ListenFirst point to Pretty Little Liars' Season 7 arc as being especially engaging for these posting platforms; but whatever the reason, it's pretty clear right now which network is holding the torch on how to get viewers to shill on social media.