StrategyMediaHow Digital Marketers Can Win an Academy Award at the Oscars

How Digital Marketers Can Win an Academy Award at the Oscars

Digital marketers have a chance to win big in the days surrounding this year's Academy Awards. What are the best ways to take advantage of the buzz?

No award show is bigger than the Oscars. Last year, 43 million people tuned in, earning it the largest nonsporting television audience since the finale of Friends. But the event isn’t just about a few hours on a TV screen. Through digital, audiences are engaging with the Academy Awards well before, during, and after the actual event. On Google alone, there were tens of millions of Oscar-related searches last year. It would likely take decades to watch the variety of Oscar-related content on YouTube. All this adds up to many new opportunities for digital marketers to participate in these massive cultural moments beyond the telecast.

So what are those opportunities? Let’s look at some data from Google Trends and YouTube to find out.

Oscar Fever Starts Early Online

Like the celebrities themselves, fans are getting ready for the Oscars well before the big night.

  • There was a 10 percent growth in “Oscar party” search interest from 2013 to 2014, and this interest started trending a week earlier.
  • And according to YouTube, the “watch time” of Oscar movie trailers spikes as soon as the nominees are announced, and it stays strong as the awards approach.


The Red Carpet Is Getting Longer

Of course, awards are as much about the fashion as the accolades themselves, and Oscar dresses are always a highlight. But interest in the red carpet is extending far beyond the night itself, even beyond the event. For the first time in recent years, searches for “red carpet” in 2014 were fragmented into two big spikes — one around the Globes and one for the Oscars — plus a larger bump around the Emmys.


After the Awards, the Oscars Live on — on YouTube

As celebrities head to after-parties, audiences head to YouTube, where the party lasts a lot longer. In fact, there are many more searches for the Oscars the day after the awards than on the day itself, both on YouTube and Google. Back at work, people are catching up on the highlights and lowlights so they can join in watercooler conversations, and video is their medium of choice.

  • People watched multiple decades’ worth of Oscar-related content on YouTube in the days following last year’s show.
  • In 2014, there were 25 times more YouTube searches for the Oscars on the Monday after the awards than on the day itself. On Google, there were four times as many searches.


It doesn’t end there. Videos about award shows are watched for months after the event itself. The Oscars in particular have a long shelf life, with interest picking back up in the fall.


People aren’t just looking for clips from the show. They want to learn and see more — behind-the-scenes footage, celebrity beauty tutorials, funny memes — and share it with friends.

  • There are more than 300,000 YouTube videos about being behind the scenes at the Oscars and, last year, 60 percent of their views happened in the eight months after the event, according to data from YouTube.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio’s reaction to not winning an Oscar became a meme unto itself — thousands of hours of video about it have been watched in the past year.

How Digital Marketers Can Win on Awards Night and Beyond

For digital marketers, the window to capitalize on award show fever and serve up relevant content online is wider than ever. For example, Cinema Sins just reviewed the movie trailers for the eight Oscar nominees for Best Picture 2015 (Whiplash, American Sniper, Birdman, The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Imitation Game, Selma, The Theory of Everything, and Boyhood.)

Fashion is the star throughout awards season, so think about cross-event digital strategies. Last year, P&G sponsored red carpet coverage at both the Grammys and the Oscars through a partnership with StyleHaul and the Associated Press. They worked with influencers, including YouTube star iJustine, to create custom content around the experience of attending the show.

Digital marketers can capture real-time opportunities during the Oscars by planning ahead. While there will be unexpected moments, much of it will center on predictable things such as red carpet fashion, the nominees, or a TV commercial that airs. Check out Google’s playbook on real-time marketing to learn how and get more best practices.

After the event, digital marketers can keep conversations going and deepen relationships with consumers through video. In fact, three of the 10 most-watched videos on YouTube in the week following the Oscars were branded, including Pepsi’s launch of the Mini Can.


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