The publisher said the shoot, which featured actress Kristen Stewart, was the world's number one trending topic on Twitter on 13 March while it was taking place in Los Angeles.
Elle magazine subscriptions are reported to have doubled as readers signed up for the Kristen Stewart special subscriber's issue, while momentum continues to build among followers for the big reveal of the eventual issue, which will go on sale in May.
The publisher also claims the initiative generated so much excitement that its site, elleuk.com, attracted its highest traffic figures for more than two years, surpassing even visits for elleuk.com's royal wedding coverage. There was a 231 per cent increase in global unique users, and a 218 per cent page views increase from Twitter and Facebook.
Although never releasing final cover images of the shoot, tweets showing the location, the clothes rail and accessories were said to have been enough to stir excitement.
As highlighted in a recent Fipp report, this is another example of the innovative ways magazine publishers are using digital to boost the sales of print magazines.