Aug 17, 2016 | Insights

“Love hurts, Love scars, John Oliver wounds, Bill Maher….”

The meaning of the above Mad Magazine style song parody will be revealed as you read on.

Bill Maher’s Fans Favorite HBO shows, by Percentage

It’s not a fair fight, as Bill Maher — the controversial yet enormously successful comedian’s and political commentator’s personal social media presence is vastly larger than that specifically associated with his HBO panel discussion series, Real Time with Bill Maher. But allowing for the differential, we were still curious if our stats could detect a significant difference in audience behavior and tastes when comparing the two, statistically speaking.

While Maher’s fans are likely more often, well, his fans; folks who find him funny and perhaps even share his point of view, many who watch Maher’s show may be inclined to do so because its a “water cooler” show. As the somewhat obsolete saying goes.

He gets A-list guests from the worlds of entertainment, music, journalism, and politics, and at least in theory gets them all to mix it up — discussing the topics of the day — in a theoretically no holds barred way, always with Mr. Maher serving as the ever-jofully-smug and anything but impartial moderator.

But it’s also not a fight. We kid when we portray it as such. The only fight here might be between John Oliver and Bill Maher. That’s not this entry’s focus, but it may be it’s biggest revelation and require a spin-off entry of its own.

This — like everything else — is a way of showing you the kind of rich and varied insights available through StatSocial, this time surrounding a single area of study.

(QUICK ASIDE: To get you up to speed on StatSocial, if you’ve stumbled your way here via Google or Twitter, click on through here. The short version is we provide detailed analysis of social media audiences. If you can group ’em together in a social media context — be they fans, consumers, non-fans, residents of a certain region, and any combination therein, and much much more (just imagine it) — we will provide you mountains of data, via our cleanly designed and easy-to-use web platform. Also, via numerous even more robust downloadable documents — available in various formats — you can gain more insight than has ever before been believed possible, into who it is you’re communicating to/with via social media. Never again need you rely on guesswork, and throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks. But we digress…)

Resuming our programming..

We needn’t point out the result above that transcends the interesting, and veers straight into the shocking. In raw numbers, more of Bill Maher’s social fans are fans of British comedian John Oliver’s HBO show — also a left-leaning, comedy oriented political commentary show — than they are fans of Bill’s show. Indeed, to a dramatic degree. Now, as we pointed out, Bill’s personal social media audience is very large. In fact, his personal audience is as large as the audiences for Oliver’s TV show and his personal social media presence combined. Still, we don’t envision Mr. Maher doing cartwheels over this result.

Pictured: Bill Maher (left) and John Oliver (right) in front of the HBO logo and unaccountably engulfed in flames.

Now, as we do as often as not, let’s jump into the “multiple” metric. Until you’ve reviewed an audience’s preferences both via the raw percentages and this, our one-of-a-kind perspective, you can’t know the whole story. Raw numbers tell you a lot. But let’s say you’re looking at a list and it’s all Beyoncé, Star Wars, Oprah… What are you really going to learn?

The “multiple” metric takes you inside the heart and brain of the audience you’re analyzing, calculating — based on numerous factors; from the audiences’ other more unusual likes, to its personality types, to its geographical locations, and on and on — the likelihood of members of the audience being analyzed belonging to another, specific social media audience. Sometimes simply analyzing the data through this unique, but meaningful lens can completely change the narrative you were working with.

As we cited in our entry the other day: Our series of entries comparing Chick-fil-A’s audience to that ofShake Shack — which you can check out by clicking the underlined text — really illustrates how much the “multiple” metric can flesh out, or even just plain change the narrative.

This time the narrative is altered, but you needn’t hold on to your hat. Basically, Maher’s own show — with a score still only quarter that of Oliver’s — ascends to second place.

Okay, enough charts of this sort for a second. Let’s show you some charts from the StatSocial platform itself (edited, it must be noted, to fit this WordPress screen, please click to enlarge so the graphics are legible) and look at some side by side comparisons of the Real Time social audience’s stats with those of Mr. Maher unencumbered by his show’s identity.

For convenience, the Real Time stats will always be those on top.

Let’s start with the basic demographics, as you usually will.

Very similar. No story here.

Sex on the other hand shows a sharp and statistically significant 5% increase in female fans for Maher’s personal account. When adjusted for the rather profound difference in audience size, that adds up to a lot of women.

The cities remain largely the same, and somewhat proportionally similar in relation to each other. But the percentages are noticeably quite a bit larger on Maher’s personal page. Again, given the difference in audience size that adds up to a lot of people.

To be honest, we’d leave it to you to speculate and use your own imaginations when digesting data like this. Perhaps it means nothing, or perhaps it’s significant, perhaps it suggests that the smaller audience may be more effective for certain types of marketing plans. Or really the TV show’s social audience is a trifle, and it’s Maher’s personal audience that should be the focus.

Whatever the case may be, the point of this entry is, as always, to demonstrate the depth of insight, flexibility of utility, and endless options provided by our platform.

The fact remains this data is there, plus so much more, and for so many more topics, for you to compare and contrast and combine, to help you be as well armed as possible as you enter the wilds of social media marketing.

We measure, analyze, and rank all sorts of things a marketer is going to want to know about, from favorite packaged goods, to favorite TV shows. One such topic for which we provide data is social influencers; meaning social media users whose audience is sizable, and whose output is frequent and often shared or otherwise liked, or responded to. You know, the biggest wigs in the social jungle.

Let’s start by percentage, and then by multiple with the top influencers for Maher’s personal page (again these screengrabs are from the platform, edited to fit this WordPress page. And click to enlarge them, so they’re legible.).

We’re starting with number 2, and going to 11, because Maher himself was rather obviously number one. I’d say Neil DeGrasse Tyson — although he’s a titan on social media — is a noteworthy presence on this list. He and Maher are both openly outspoken critics of organized religion, as is animator — and briefly big band singer and baffling one time Oscar host — Seth MacFarlane, the number 11 influencer. But that is simply an illustration of the kinds of connections you yourself are free to make or dismiss when analyzing our data.


And by now you know what comes next, Maher’s influencers by multiple.


Maher’s role as agitator becomes more evident, as Michael Moore tops the list, and his outspoken views on religion are reflected in Professor Richard Dawkins being number two. Sam Harris, Neil Degrasse Tyson, and even comedian Ricky Gervais are all outspoken critics of religion (meaning, to a rather pronounced degree, where it’s actively part of their public personas). So, one can’t help but make the connection.

The rest are very popular liberal commentators or comedians, Rachel Maddow, Stephen Colbert, etc.

While this entry is becoming unwieldy, you can skim it and get our point. But for those interested here are the favorite influencers among the fans of specifically the Real Time show, sorted by percent


A very similar list to that Maher himself, unsurprisingly. But that kind of result can be crucial data for marketers.

And finally, because we have to, the Real Time crowd’s favorite influencers by multiple.


Michael Moore tops this list, as he did Maher’s own list. But suddenly John Oliver is much more highly ranked. Theory — fans of Real Time, as opposed to those who are just fans of Maher’s, are more likely to be HBO viewers and followers.

It’s also noteworthy that while Maher himself is not what most would describe as a “bleeding heart” liberal, most of the other names that come up are those unabashedly far left in their leanings.


So, we’ve seen a lot. And at the start of all this, we saw how things shook out when the big fella’s own personal fans’s HBO viewing habits were analyzed, but how about the fans of the show itself? Well, obviously 100% of them are fans — or at least individuals who engage with the Real Time on social media, so we’ve excluded it from our chart, but what of the remainder:

John Oliver is still the king, but this time the runner up — HBO’s gargantuan hit, Game of Thrones — is not shamed in its number two position. It is viewed by a healthy portion of this audience.

Now, when sorted by multiple — and this is how we’re closing so we feel we should give this thing a grand finale — things do become a tad interesting. Fireworks, however, will not be going off.

The story with this final list, of course, is the ascendance of Armando Iannucci’s frequently brilliant and often Emmy winning, VEEP. Narrowly edging out the ubiquitous Brit with the glasses, the liberal comic nipping at Mr. Maher’s heels, the extremely popular John Oliver.

Seeing The Leftovers leap like that is a surprise, and it’s nice to see Silicon Valley — in our opinion the best show currently on HBO — get some love.

And we believe that’s more than enough about Bill Maher’s extended social media presence shared in an effort to demonstrate StatSocial’s capabilities.

So, if you have any questions or comments, or suggestions for entries of this nature, give us a shout out on our Twitter page.

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To learn much more about StatSocial, the curious are encouraged to visit the StatSocial site itself, where you’ll find all sorts of stuff including sample reports.

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