Those tawny beauties cavorting in the surf have done it again.
This year’s annual ritual of ogling swimwear models, the 2017 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, is setting all kinds of digital records before the print issue even hits the newsstands, according to publisher Time Inc. That includes unprecedented video viewing and social engagement numbers.
The digital preview and launch for the 2017 Swimsuit Issue kicked off last Wednesday with the announcement, amid much fanfare and fewer clothes, that Kate Upton will be this year’s cover model. She leads a bevy including Aly Raisman, Hailey Clauson, Sailor Brinkley Cook, and tennis superstar Serena Williams.
Since then, SI’s online destination for the issue, SI.com/Swimsuit, has generated over 215 million page views, with a record amount of average time spent on site at over four minutes per visit.
Over the same period, SI’s video offerings have racked up over 36.5 million views across various platforms — more than twice the video views during last year’s launch, and the best week for SI ever in video viewing.
Of these views, over 28 million views came from SI’s social channels, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
A dozen Facebook Live productions for the Swimsuit issue garnered 3 million views, contributing to a total 13 million views on Facebook, while SI Swim on Instagram generated four million video views.
Thanks to this engagement, SI added over 100,000 new social media followers, with half of them on Instagram, 37,000 on Facebook, and 18,000 on Twitter. SI’s Instagram engagement strategy included a model “tag” campaign to drive interest in the cover reveal, as well as a video of Upton backstage at "Jimmy Kimmel Live."
In a nod to growing concern about beauty standards and body image issues, this year’s Swimsuit launch also saw the debut of a new video campaign on Instagram, “What I Model,” produced by SI in collaboration with @WomenIRL and Health, which highlights real women strutting their stuff.