The Buzzy Social Strategy Behind MTV’s Live Events

A fan-first formula

Hissey describes the VMA’s 2022 social and digital campaign as a three-pronged approach, beginning with the announcement of the star-studded list of nominees and then continuing with the official voting period through Show Night.

As MTV announced the nominees, the brand social team began creating custom content that would appeal to specific fandoms, including Nicki Minaj fans known as Barbz, as well as BLACKPINK’s BLINKs and the BTS Army.

“The VMAs are all about leaning into the artists’ fandoms,” says Hissey. “The main idea that we rallied around as a team was how we would event-driven the show’s announcements and later the performances and performances specifically for those fandoms.” Artists shared the assets from their official accounts, with the top-performing posts on Instagram were released, which Hissey said took the reach and engagement “to the next level.”

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To maximize exposure and excitement, the MTVE Studios team leveraged nine of their more than 25 franchised YouTube channels, including Wild ‘N Out (11.5 million subscribers) and ridiculousness (1.38 million subscribers) by publishing contextually relevant content featuring VMA nominees and artists. For example, rapper Jack Harlow had a guest appearance on an episode of Wild ‘N Out in 2020, the team released the full episode as well as highlight clips to promote Harlow’s VMAs nominations.

Total Minutes Consumed social security contributions, which measure minutes and consumption across all platforms, rose 79% year over year. In addition, the number of nominee votings increased by 10% compared to 2021.

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“Our strategy is to leverage the MTV portfolio across all the platforms that we have,” says Hissey. “During big tentpoles, we know we have big advantages on social media, and we’re much stronger when we’re distributing content from all of our larger accounts, whether that’s the case Wild ‘N Out on YouTube or TikTok, Comedy Central content like Key & PeeleCMT content etc. Our content library is second to none and our fans are loyal.”

On show day, the team focused on real-time publishing for total Sunday takeover across all social platforms. MTV this year partnered with popular Instagram photographer Amber Asaly to capture platform-first content for release during the show.

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The team also immediately shared the show’s biggest moments, including BLACKPINK’s “Pink Venom” performance, Nicki Minaj’s video Vanguard speech, and Taylor Swift teasing her new album. This led to a wave of engagement interactions within the Social Content Ratings measurement window.

BLACKPINK’s in-show performance became the #1 most popular video on YouTube within hours of its release. The video amassed 15 million views and 40 million minutes in the first 48 hours. The brand went all-in on YouTube this Sunday, releasing 36 videos that racked up 85 million minutes watched and 186,000 new subscribers during that period.

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