We were absolutely shocked Matt Terry won X-Factor….said no one at Blurrt, ever!

December 15, 2016 — by

Before those phone lines closed – here at Blurrt we knew Matt was going to win – and here’s why…

As 23 year-old Bromley-born Matt Terry was wiping away his tears after being crowned the winner of The X-Factor and performing his new single, and as millions of homes across the nation were muttering, “That’s quite a catchy, albeit bland Christmas song. I wonder if it will do better than Cruz Beckham?” AND whilst the UK press were busy writing their ‘X-Factor Winner’ headlines – the X-Factor team were busy getting ready to release the final voting figures for the series.

These figures could potentially help to provide a perfect narrative for the X-Factor: that it wasn’t a given that the bookies favourite throughout the series was always going to win, because in weeks 4,6,8 & 9 Matt Terry wasn’t top and during Saturday’s final where the competition switches from a three-way to a head-to-head, eventual runner up Saara was actually in first place.

Some did run with this as their attention grabbing headline to lead into the actual data: ‘It Was Closer Than You Might Think’, ‘It’s the closest year ever’ and ‘X-Factor a LOT closer than you might think’ being some easily googled examples.

So why was it that Blurrt were so confident prior to the close of the vote that Matt would be the eventual winner? Well, to put it simply, because our real-time social conversation figures said so.

In fact, looking at social conversation captured from the close of Saturday’s show right up to 21:47pm on the Sunday when the phone lines officially closed; our analysis showed us that Matt Terry was responsible for 48.6% of X-Factor conversation posted around the finalists.

Incidentally Matt’s winning vote percentage was 48.5%, which is incredibly similar and almost the very same as his social conversation share, whilst runner-up Saara Alto had 40.4% of the viewer’s vote and 42.4% of the social conversation share.

Now you may think that’s just a very convenient coincidence – but these trends between social data and the actual voting figures can be seen throughout the series.

That headline piece around Saara leading in the first final show; we saw that same trend in the social data too. X-Factor’s voting figures told us that Saara had 35.3% of the vote, Matt had 33.4% and Five After Midnight had 31.3%.
Our social leaderboard looked like this: Saara – 41.7%, Matt – 40.1%, Five After Midnight 18.2%. The top 3 in the same order.

Also as a result of looking back into past weeks to see how far these trends have gone, here’s a slightly ugly looking list of the week-by-week voting figures for Matt, where he placed and where he ranked using social data as well as our own Blurrt Score.

Who doesn't love a spreadsheet?

Who doesn’t love a spreadsheet?

Every week the incredibly divisive Honey G dominated social conversation volumes, which also shows that there isn’t a perfect link between social conversation volumes and whether someone will actually vote.

But it’s in situations like this that we can look to our own metric of reaction and impact across social, the Blurrt Score, to perhaps make a more suggestive link between social conversation and voting figures.

The Blurrt Score is a unique metric that measures audience reaction by analysing and understanding sentiment expressed in social media posts using our own natural language processing system as well as factoring in the volumes of conversation going on. Honey G for example, always scored between a 4 and 5 as high volumes with a lot of very strong positivity is great, but equally with the masses of strong emotion-bearing negativity that were captured, her Blurrt score never reached the likes of Matt and Saara.

Matt Terry, the overall winner, was top of our Blurrt Score leaderboard 8 times out of 11 different live shows – that’s quite a dominating performance at the top – but perhaps still not enough to be really confident that he could win.

So the other reason why we were so sure he was going to win the show a significant time before voting closed?

Well that’s because everything we do is in real-time, which means we saw him overtake Saara and strengthen his lead at the top, both in terms of overall social conversation volume and in terms of our Blurrt Score – and if you add Matt Terry to the Brexit and Trump results (although it’s debatable that those three should ever be actually compared in any other context) then that’s a hat-trick of things that Blurrt saw coming before many, many others did.