OPINION: The X Factor: Bookies v. Twitter

Cam Parker
By Cam Parker | 28 October 2013
Cam Parker checks out what social media says about X Factor's possibly winners.

Tonight we will know who has won the highly popular X Factor TV series, the most ‘social’ of all series so far.

The bookies’ verdict has been decided for months: Dami Im is the clear favourite at $1.45; Jai Waetford, who has the most Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers is at $3.75; Then Taylor Henderson, the most-successful artist in the series in terms of music sales, is at $5.00.

Could the bookies be right? Would an analysis of social media be a better indicator?

A small team at IPG Mediabrands set out to discover how Australia would vote by looking a range of social-analytics and digital platforms. We believe there are three principal factors that compel people to vote for their favourite artist – the Music Factor, the Fan Factor and the Buzz Factor.

Here’s how they pan out and who wins:


Great songs backed by great performances are rewarded by record sales, downloads and high video views. We also know that record sales and iTunes downloads are considered in the voting process.

Jai’s audition performance has almost twice as many YouTube views (3.96 million) as the others’ combined.

Dami’s live performance of ‘Purple Rain’ is the most-watched song that isn’t an audition, boot-camp or home-visit performance. It is the live performances only that are recognised on the ARIA charts and downloaded from iTunes.

Taylor is the most-successful artist in terms of numbers of songs and their longevity in the iTunes charts. Importantly, his performance of ‘Girl’s Just Want To Have Fun’ is iTunes’ number-one song in the lead-up to the grand final. Taylor is the best-performing artist on the ARIA charts, having achieved a top-ten position with his performance of ‘The Horses’.

Neither Dami nor Jai have achieved an Australian top-ten song throughout X-Factor 2013.

Dami’s heavily promoted performance of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ achieved iTunes chart success back in September, but she has not maintained that momentum leading in to the final.



With over three-quarters of a million social-media followers, these three artists have found new and interesting ways to bring their fans closer in just 12 weeks. While Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are obvious channels, this year’s X-Factor sees Instagram as perhaps the primary mode of engagement for followers of Dami (66,689), Jai (192,089) and Taylor (124,676).

Acquisition of fans may also be extremely helpful beyond the X-Factor, giving the artists a solid fan-base to build their careers upon. Expect to see all three of the grand finalists again in the future.



Leading in to the grand final, building talkability and engaging with fans will be of the utmost importance. These fans need to vote (early and often, apparently) to ensure the artists’ efforts to win X-Factor 2013 will not have been in vain.

Instagram Likes and Comments are generating the most engagement for the artists. Jai has the most recent engagements (381,378), followed by Taylor (265,512) then Dami (177,458). However, when considered as a whole, people are more inclined to interact with Dami’s photos, perhaps because hers include more images of her with fans and at performances, rather than mere selfies.

And while Dami may have fewer Twitter followers than her opponents, her most important fan (mentor Dannii Minogue, with 1.18 million followers) makes a point of amplifying every 140-character message sent by her protégé. (Taylor and Jai’s mentor, Ronan Keating, has almost 431,000 Twitter followers.)

How fans speak of the contestants also impacts people’s impressions. With the uneven weight that negative commentary has upon consideration, it is significant that all artists have done well to keep conversations upbeat, enthusiastic and supportive. Dami has the highest amount of positivity expressed in her performances (18.8% of her social chatter), closely followed by Taylor (11.03%) then Jai (9.68%)

Web-site search activity has grown significantly, and indicates who has the most interest leading in to the grand final. With this in mind, Dami has the most momentum, with an increase of over 500% between August (27,100) and September (165,000). Searches for Jai are on the wane, falling over 33% (74,000 to 49,500).

Verdict: DAMI IM


Like everyone else – we’ll have to wait and see. With each a potential winner for different reasons, Channel 7 has a dream finale to offer their audience.

Cam Parker
Data Strategist
IPG Mediabrands

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