Data visualization and storytelling


My type on paper: the data behind Love Island success

We analyzed the data behind Love Island to find out which couples are still together, and who might've entered the show looking for fame instead of love

At Flourish, we’re always looking for new and exciting ways to use data visualization to tell stories and gain insights. So, when Love Island returned to our screens, we couldn’t resist digging into the data to see what we could learn about this wildly popular dating show.

If there is one thing everyone at Flourish knows about me, it’s that I love Love Island.

For those who may roll their eyes at the thought of this “reality TV garbage,” I have a confession: I, too, was once a skeptic. But after researching the show and its gender dynamics for a university essay, I was hooked.

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I’m not here to convince you that Love Island is the epitome of quality television, nor am I going to say it doesn’t have any flaws (it definitely does).

Annie sat in the audience of Love Island: Aftersun with an arrow pointing to her saying 'Me!!'

Attending a live episode recording of Love Island: Aftersun – the talk show after every Sunday night episode – inspired me to look into the data behind the show

But, because it’s my birthday tomorrow, and also because I attended an actual live episode recording of Love Island: Aftersun last week (the talk show after every Sunday night episode), I managed to convince the team to let me do a data deep dive into Love Island.

So without further ado, let’s find out if Love Island is worth entering if you’re looking for love!

I was excited to see what the numbers had to say about the show and its contestants. I compared Love Island to other popular dating shows, like The Bachelor and Married At First Sight Australia, to see how its relationships stack up.

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30 contestants have found long-lasting love on Love Island, which is just over 10% of all contestants who made it onto the island. Anyone thinking about entering The Bachelor might want to change their mind – only 0.79% of all contestants who entered have managed to find themselves a romantic happily ever after.

Which Love Island couples are still together?

But how have these Love Island love matches fared? I took a look into how the relationships from each season have developed to see how these relationships have stood the test of time. In the beeswarm plot below, each contestant is a dot – the further to the right they are plotted, the longer they have been together.

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In it for the love, or in it for the fame?

Now we need to start asking the deeper question: Is everyone in it for love, or are some people just looking for fame? Since Love Island was rekindled on our TVs in 2015, it has seen a bit of fluctuation with its audience numbers.

On average over the eight years of broadcast, Love Island has seen 3.73 million viewers each week. That’s a lot of eyes and potential followers for budding entrepreneurs’ social media accounts. 👀

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It hit a peak of 5.61 million viewers during series 5, but viewing numbers started dropping down in following seasons of the show.

If we now know most relationships don’t make it past a year, and that Love Island has had consistently strong viewing figures, could contestants possibly (just maybe) be entering for more nefarious reasons? Islanders love to accuse each other of playing the game - but does the game work?

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But are the chances really equal?

Now, if you aren’t familiar with the structure of Love Island I will try and explain it briefly here:

The show begins with an even number of singles, split into boys and girls, who can then choose to couple up with each other. But, as the days go by, they throw in new singles called ‘bombshells’ to test the couples and mix things up. But this means your chances of winning aren’t always the same, as bombshells don’t necessarily get the same amount of time to flirt and form friendships in the same way an ‘original’ islander would.

Here I’ve visualized the series 5 islanders current instagram followers, compared to how long they lasted in the villa, to see if how long you are on TV screens has an impact on your social media legacy afterwards.

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And it looks like it does! The most popular islanders from that series all entered earlier on in the process.

So there we have it! You now have an insight into Love Island you probably didn’t want or ask for – you’re welcome! 😘