Inside Fandom 2022 Twitter WD 02

Fandom Unveils Four Fan Identity Segments & How Marketers Can Best Tap Into Them in New Inside Fandom Study

November 17, 2022


Study Reveals Almost 50% Of Core Audiences Will Not Automatically Watch Or Play New Releases & Which Fan ID Segments Are 15% More Likely To Be Influenced By Advertising

Full Study Detailed in Today's Live Webinar at 1pm ET/10am PT Hosted by Actor/Writer/Producer Colton Dunn

Watch Our Webinar HERE:

Want to Uncover Your Own Fan Identity? Take Our Quiz:

San Francisco, CA - November 17, 2022 - Did you know that there are 102 million Star Wars fans in the U.S. alone? That's bigger than the population of Germany! And the 81 million fans of Fortnite? That's more Fortnite fans than there are men 18 - 34 in the U.S. With audiences that vast, it's never been more important for marketers to understand the makeup of their fan base and what motivates them. Fandom, the world's largest fan platform, uncovers an entirely new way to understand and engage with fans in its annual Inside Fandom study (formerly State of Fandom), a proprietary data + research report that dives deep into the changing mindset of fans.

Leveraging first-party data from Fandom's extensive platform - 350 million monthly unique visitors, over 45 million pages of content and 250k fan-powered wikis - coupled with a global study, Fandom's fourth-annual report uncovers four different "fan identity" segments that play a distinct role in driving overall engagement and viewership of a release:

The Advocate (Personal Identity) - 24% of average fanbase

  • Deeply invested & very engaged; the IP is a core part of their personal identity and has been a long-standing fandom of theirs; they buy merch, write/read fan fiction and may make it a permanent part of their life (i.e. tattoo, nickname, pet name, child name)

  • Top Franchises with strong Advocates: Marvel, Harry Potter, Stranger Things, Rick and Morty, DC, Zelda, Star Wars, Mario, The Boys, The Simpsons

The Intentionalist (Personal Preference) - 31% of average fanbase

  • Largest group; doesn't do other things while watching/playing; they lean into what they are watching/playing and make conscious & intentional decisions based on their fandoms; they are influenced by ads, awards, reviews, and follow the personal lives of the cast & crew associated with the show/film/game

  • Top franchises with strong Intentionalists: Sex Lives of College Girls, Zelda, Breaking Bad, HandMaid's Tale, Diablo, GoT, True Blood, Dragon Ball Z, Rick & Morty, Only Murders in the Building

The Culturalist (FOMO) - 24% of average fanbase

  • Heavily swayed and influenced by the buzz and cultural relevance around a release including "Meme Culture" and influencers; they have "fear of missing out" (FOMO) and participate in water cooler talk; they'll watch/play while doing other things; will use their fandom as a way to engage with family and friends

  • Top franchises with strong Culturalists: Scrubs, Chicago Fire, Ted Lasso, The Sopranos, Handmaid's Tale, Boardwalk Empire, True Detective, The Challenge, Parks & Rec, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

The Flirt (Single & Ready to Mingle – with Content) - 21% of average fanbase

  • Least engaged audience, yet still important for driving overall viewership; have heard about the show/movie/game but will "add it to the list" until they are in the mood to watch/play; they'll watch/play simply because "others around them are watching/playing it and they have the time to engage"

  • Top franchises with strong Flirts: Frozen, The Office, TMNT, SpongeBob, Sonic, SouthPark, Friends, The Bachelor, Real Housewives

"Reaching consumers in an impactful way is not a one-size-fits-all formula. Understanding the spectrum of fan identity and how it affects fan behavior has never been more critical across the ever-expanding entertainment landscape," said Perkins Miller, CEO of Fandom. "Our FanDNA data platform provides invaluable insights to help our partners develop sophisticated, effective campaigns that will resonate with the exact fan segment to drive viewership and play."

Key takeaways from the study on the four fan identity segments include:

1. Each of the four fan identities drive different metrics, leading to improvements in influence, viewership and must-watch:

  • Advertising is the #2 way Intentionalists discover content and they are 15% more likely to be influenced by advertising compared to any other fan identity group

  • Advocates are 125% more likely to watch/play on the day of release while Intentionalists are 41% more likely to watch/play within the first two weeks of a release

  • Culturalists will tune in within the first month of the release followed by the Flirts who watch whenever they have the time

2. Viewership is not guaranteed and a pre-existing connection with the IP doesn't mean that a fan is automatically going to watch/play an upcoming release:

  • 52% of a fanbase is on the fence about watching/playing a new release, meaning even core audiences are not guaranteed at launch. This represents a HUGE opportunity for marketers, studios and brands to gain even more market share by tapping into all four fan ID segments

  • 54% of consumers who are on the fence about watching/playing a new release are Culturalists & Flirts, which creates an opportunity to capture their attention by marketing to them throughout the entire release window

3. All fan identities are critical to the success of a franchise, especially Culturalists and Flirts, despite being less engaged than Advocates and Intentionalists:

  • On average, 50% of a fan base is made up of Culturalists and Flirts

  • Tapping into Culturalists and Flirts will take franchises to the next level. Examples of series who did it right by utilizing these two important audiences are Ted Lasso, Severance, Love is Blind, The Bachelor

"The words ‘fan' and ‘super fan' are used constantly to describe consumers of entertainment, but those terms are too generic for today's entertainment world - fandoms are complex," said Stephanie Fried, CMO of Fandom. "Understanding the layers of fan identity and authentically connecting with them at the right time and right place will be key for marketers looking to maximize success across streaming, theatrical and video game releases."

During the webinar, Fandom will also unveil three case studies on the anatomy of a Marvel vs DC fan, why HBO Max's Sex Lives of College Girls is a recipe for success, and the breakdown of the Games-as-a-Service (GaaS) model vs traditional video game release through Genshin Impact vs Zelda. Key takeaways from the case studies include:

  • 84% of Marvel fans claim they're overwhelmed with the constant stream of MCU content - but despite these huge franchises becoming a bit unwieldy, fans still flock to the box office with each new release and Fandom's wiki traffic remains healthy

  • Franchises that are character-led enable each IP to shine - DC fans are 20% more inclined to purchase products that feature their favorite superhero

  • Marvel has a higher concentration of Advocates and Intentionlists leading to a more leaned-in & always on fanbase

  • DC fans skew more toward Culturalists and Flirts, making the fanbase slightly more passive

  • Based on fan engagement and the increase in pageviews on the Sex Lives of College Girls wiki, Fandom predicts that season 2 will surpass season 1 in overall viewership

  • More than 60% of the Sex Lives of College Girls audience are Advocates and Intentionalists, which is on par with the type of fans who indulge in Marvel, DC, Harry Potter, Stranger Things

  • 81% of existing fanbase plan to watch season two of Sex Lives of College Girls - but only 50% of consumers who are fans of the genre currently watch the series, leaving room for HBO Max to introduce new fans to the franchise

  • 60% of consumers prefer the traditional game release model despite the industry leaning into the GaaS (games-as-a-service) model

  • But even with this consumer frustration, GaaS game releases still get 8x more consumer engagement than traditional game releases due to the consistent stream of content being released

  • The Zelda fanbase skews towards Advocates and Intentionalists who have likely been lifelong fans of the franchises

  • Due to the consistent release of new content, Genshin Impact grabs the attention of the Culturalist and Flirts

This year's Inside Fandom webinar will be hosted by actor/producer/writer Colton Dunn and includes discussions with industry leaders such as Mindy Hamilton, SVP, Global Partnership Marketing, The Walt Disney Company & Marvel Studios; Oke Mueller, VP, Global Player Insights at Activision Blizzard; Spencer Kaplan, Global Head of Creative Marketing at Riot Games Entertainment; and Jason Croddy, SVP & Director of Hyundai Brand Strategy at Canvas Worldwide.

An executive summary of the study with additional data points can be found HERE.


Fandom surveyed 5,000 entertainment and gaming fans in the US & UK to understand the ever changing entertainment landscape. The insights from the study were joined with proprietary insights from Fandom's first-party platform data of over 300MM users, 40MM content pages across 250K wikis.

Fandom is the world's largest fan platform where fans immerse themselves in imagined worlds across entertainment and gaming. Reaching more than 350 million unique visitors per month and hosting more than 250,000 wikis, Fandom is the #1 source for in-depth information on pop culture, gaming, TV and film, where fans learn about and celebrate their favorite fandoms. Fandom's Gaming division manages the online video game retailer Fanatical. Fandom Productions, the content arm of Fandom, enhances the fan experience through curated editorial coverage and branded content from trusted and established publishing brands Gamespot, TV Guide and Metacritic, along with its Emmy-nominated Honest Trailers and the weekly video news program The Loop. For more information follow @getfandom or visit:

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