The MTV Video Music Awards got personal this year, sliding right into fans’ DMs.
MTV partnered with Twitter and Taco Bell to create a targeted social media campaign to encourage fans to cast their votes for Best New Artist in the week leading up to the 2017 VMAs. The campaign, which was part of an expansive partnership with Taco Bell, paired MTV’s passionate fanbase and social media influence with new Twitter features to tap into an intensely interested audience. Plus, dynamic media created by Viacom’s branded content agency, Velocity, that was embedded within social sharing features led fans to share their vote with friends and followers, driving significant organic participation and impressions.
The Best New Artist award is a career-maker for artists, and it’s historically been a critical way for fans to participate in the award show. Previous winners—including Nirvana, Eminem and Justin Bieber—established themselves as creative leaders whose work helped to define musical eras, proving the power and prescience of early fan support. For 2017, slate of nominees included Noah Cyrus, SZA, Julia Michaels, Kodak Black, Young M.A, and Khalid. MTV wanted to capture the cultural groundswell by creating a fun and user-friendly voting process, which would not only enable fans to vote, but would also give them a way to share their vote with friends and followers.
The solution was two-pronged. First, MTV worked with Proxima.io, a software development company, to create a chatbot that worked with Twitter’s Direct Message Card to enable fans to vote for their favorite new artist. By using the message card feature, which launched earlier this year, MTV could have personalized conversations with a targeted audience at scale. The conversational interface made it simple for users to understand who was nominated and to cast their vote. It was also the first time that a conversational interface was used for voting on Twitter.
As well, the message reached an extended community of fans thanks to a partnership with Taco Bell. Since 2012, Taco Bell and MTV have joined forces to promote the Best New Artist category by engaging fans through synergistic messaging. This year, Taco Bell used Twitter’s targeting options to fire up one-on-one conversations via Promoted Tweets, which appeared in the timelines of fans interested in MTV, the VMAs, Taco Bell, the nominated artists, and music, enticing them to cast their votes. With this integration, MTV was able to leverage the enthusiasm around the event to drive awareness and lift for Taco Bell.
Fans could also share their vote in a personalized video message, encouraging their followers to join the election. For the finale, the top two contenders competed in a head-to-head hashtag vote, which kicked off during the VMAs pre-show before the winner was crowned during the live show on August 27.
The one-of-a-kind campaign drove overall engagement, leading more than 1.6M fans to cast their votes on MTV.com and on social media—a year-over-year increase of 250K unique votes. The chatbot experience proved to be as seamless as it was scalable, as 77% of the people who engaged with the chatbot submitted a vote. The chatbot also helped MTV drive 99% of all the #liVeMAs mentions on Twitter during the campaign.
Source: Twitter, MTV
Fans enthusiastically shared the chatbot experience with their followers, highlighting the success of the creative and interactive process. Ultimately, organic shares increased voting by 25% and led to a 2X increase in organic impressions.
The strong affinity that music fans and young audiences have for MTV and the VMAs is unparalleled. The success of the 2017 Best New Artist campaign proves that it’s possible to connect with these audiences in a whole new way, by combining the popularity of creative brands like Taco Bell, the amplification abilities of MTV’s social channels, and the sophisticated targeted capabilities of Twitter. Creating this type of meaningful and entertaining connection is increasingly important, as audiences spend more time online and on social media.
Of course, MTV, Taco Bell, and Twitter weren’t the only winners of the night. After a close voting battle, fans anointed Khalid as the year’s fan favorite.
ILLUSTRATION: KYLE HILTON