The best of Harry Potter [according to muggles on social media]

Julia Miashkova
by Julia Miashkova on September 23, 2020

A word of warning: this here is a social media listening analysis of Harry Potter, a seven-book series by J.K. Rowling and not Harry Potter, an Australian journalist, television reporter, and presenter. Now that this is out of the way, we can proceed to activate the Potterheads mode.

The ultimate nostalgia material for anybody who grew up following the adventures of 'The Boy Who Lived', the Harry Potter saga is the embodiment of magic. The magic of fiction writing, filmmaking, and community building that has affected the world in a very real way. 

With 500 million copies sold worldwide, Harry Potter is the best-selling book series in history. Add to that over 1 billion USD made from Harry Potter movies and whatever unfathomable profits the Harry Potter brand keeps generating to this day — and you got yourself the ultimate case study.

We at Awario couldn't miss out on the opportunity and applied the power of social listening to uncover the best of Harry Potter as seen by muggles on social media. We're talking books, movies, and characters. Whatever feedback can be found on social networks is helpful in running a brand analysis with a social listening tool.

Accio Awario!

To determine the Internet's favorite Harry Potter joint, we set Awario to monitor all social media conversations that feature the words "Harry Potter". For this, we fired up Awario and created a project with a single keyword in it. We put the keyword in quotes to indicate an exact match, i.e. both words would need to be featured in a social media post for it to be counted in.

That's it for social listening's Appare Vestigium (for all muggles out there, that's a tracking spell). As soon as you've created a project, Awario starts searching social media and the web for all mentions of the keywords you've put in. We went ahead and disabled news, blogs, and the web in the alert settings later on as we were only interested in social media posts. 

While a quick setup like that is enough in some cases, other cases call for a more sophisticated approach. For example, to only fetch social media conversations around Harry Potter characters and nothing else, we created a monitoring alert for the keywords favorite, bestharry, potter, and character in all their variations. We used Boolean search to get right to the good stuff and only find highly relevant social media posts. 

Pro tip: to set Awario to monitor social media conversations featuring specific keywords with no fixed order, use the near/30: search operator. It allows up to 30 (this can be adjusted to any number) words in-between keywords and lets you collect all relevant social media conversations regardless of the word order. 

To find social media conversations around specifically Harry Potter movies, books, Hogwarts houses, or anything you can think of, you only need to throw in relevant keywords and voilà — your social media monitoring is underway! 

Depending on how many sources, languages, and locations you want to collect data from, as well as the date range you specified, Awario might need some time to collect social data and present analytics. From there, the task boils down to going through social listening metrics, insights, and raw user data. 

Once we have enough social data, we can search it for mentions of Harry Potter books and movies one by one. Then, we can look at each book's and movie's Share of voice and Mention score, i.e. the volume of conversations against the total, and Net sentiment, i.e. the prevailing tone behind the mentions, to assign a Social Listening Score to each.


With a social listening score for every book and movie in the series, we'll know for sure which HP joint won the most muggles' hearts.


Because we set up two monitoring alerts — the best Harry Potter character and a generic, i.e. "Harry Potter" alert, we ended up with different sets of analytics. Let's see what we've got in the generic alert.

  1. Based on the number of mentions Awario picked up (over 226K in under 3 weeks), there are, on average, 75K new social media mentions of Harry Potter every week
  2. The audience talking about Harry Potter on social media is mostly female.
  3. Top-5 languages of mentions of Harry Potter on social media are English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and French.

Best Harry Potter book

We'll now search the generic "Harry Potter" alert for mentions of all 7 books in the series to try and determine social media's favorite by looking at 1) mention score, and 2) net sentiment. For every metric, we normalized the data and assigned a score of 10 to the book with the best result, and a score of 0 to the one with the lowest value. Finally, we added up the scores and divided the final value by 2 to come up with an overall social listening score.  

After performing these calculations for each Harry Potter book in the series, we're able to compare social listening scores and determine the winner. Here it comes.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone scores the highest, and for a good reason! The book was literally named the best and most influential book in the past 30 years by the British Book Awards, so it's only fair that social media listening would reinforce that.

Plus, for many adults growing up with Harry Potter books, Philosopher's Stone is the ultimate happy place regardless of the awards the book may or may not have received.

Meanwhile, Deathly Hallows receives a social listening score of 0 because it had the fewest mentions, i.e. it was assigned a mention score of 0, and it had a negative net sentiment (the negative sentiment of mentions prevailed), so it, again, was normalized to 0. It doesn't mean that the book is widely hated on social media; it also has an appreciative audience of its own – but the appreciative audience of Deathly Hallows is much smaller than the social media fan base of other HP books.

Best Harry Potter movie

You know the drill: 1) search the generic alert for mentions of each Harry Potter film, 2) calculate their respective mention scores and net sentiment, and 3) determine each movie's social listening score. Below is the final lineup.

For Philosopher's Stone and Prisoner of Azkaban – our leaders in the book lineup – the tables literally turned when it came to revealing the best Harry Potter movie according to social media. A universally acclaimed masterpiece of the film franchise, Prisoner of Azkaban directed by Alfonso Cuarón takes its rightful place as the best Harry Potter film, and the Internet agrees.

Prisoner of Azkaban is the best movie adaptation in whole Harry Potter franchise. from r/harrypotter

Both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows receive, once again, the lowest social listening scores. Whether it's due to the many deviations from the book or a lot of characters left out, and some – like Nevill Longbottom – reduced to the very minimum, Deathly Hollows feels like a sloppy ending to an epic 12-year-long buildup to many fans.

Best Harry Potter character

You might remember that we created a separate monitoring alert for the best Harry Potter character using Boolean search. This means we're working with character-specific mentions only. To determine the favorites, we'll go over to the Mentions Feed that stores all of the social media conversations picked up by Awario. Because the feed is searchable and offers many filtering conditions, we'll be able to cut through the noise and get right to the winners.

First, we sorted the feed by Reach to see the posts that have generated the most impressions on social media first. Then, we grouped the conversations by Authors to make sure we only see one post per social media user. Last, we looked up every major character to see who's talked about the most. For obvious reasons, we didn't look up Harry himself as his name is also the brand name, which means mentions of Harry Potter would inevitably outweigh the rest of the characters.

Let's see social media's favorite Harry Potter characters ranked by the number of mentions they received.

Draco Malfoy being social media's favorite Harry Potter character is a relatively new development. While some people have favored Slytherin's frontman from the very beginning, the character is in this very moment enjoying a popularity spike thanks to TikTok embracing the Draco Malfoy trend in every possible way. 

The all-around good guys Hermione, Sirius Black, and Ron, although outperformed by Draco in this particular period in time, enjoy their top placements in any HP character rating, with fan love being more or less proportionate to each of the characters' screen time.

Another, self-proclaimed this time, best Harry Potter character is Bellatrix Lestrange portrayed by no other than Helena Bonham Carter.

Interestingly, the only people that made it to the generic Harry Potter alert's Topic cloud are Robert Pattinson (aka Cedric Diggory) and Maggie Smith (aka Minerva McGonagall). 

A little digging in the Mentions Feed gets us to a lot of appreciation of Robert Pattinson's contribution to the Harry Potter film franchise.

Dame Maggie Smith, meanwhile, is celebrated as "the greatest casting decision of all time", according to one admiring muggle on social media and, I'm sure, many admiring muggles currently offline.

Since we're already in the Topic cloud, we might as well take a look at another popular keyword that reveals a trending user request. 

With Harry Potter movies being available on Netflix in a very limited number of locations, Twitter users might not be completely overreacting, seeing how the movies are still in demand across continents and video streaming platforms.

Mischief managed! 

Driven by the pursuit of the social listening truth, we used social media monitoring to uncover the best of Harry Potter as seen by the muggles on social media. Here's what we discovered.

  • The best Harry Potter book is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.
  • The best Harry Potter movie is Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
  • The best Harry Potter character is an unlikely TikTok starlet Draco Malfoy.

Whether or not these social media listening findings reflect the Harry Potter fanbase offline reality is a matter of discussion. However, a social listening study is always a great opening point for a discussion or larger research, so don't be shy in running your own analyses with Awario, no command of tracking spells needed.

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