MTV seeks to shore up VMAs ratings with social media blitz

By Natan Edelsburg 

Today, MTV announced a new socially-voted category with Windows Phone titled “Best Song of the Summer,” which seeks to capitalize on a topic of popular debate. The nominees for this inaugural award are Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” Daft “Get Lucky,” Ellie Goulding’s “I Need Your Love,” Selena Gomez’s “Come & Get It,” One Direction’s “Best Song Ever,” and Robin Thicke’s sexy “Blurred Lines.” Beginning today, fans can vote via Twitter, Instagram or Vine by using #votemiley, #votedaftpunk, #voteselena, #voteonedirection, #votethicke,  or #votecalvinandellie.

Last Monday, MTV announced on the Brooklyn Bridge that Kanye West is set to perform at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards for a record-tying (Madonna) seventh time, and the network broke the news via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine. To build anticipation for the show – which will take place on August 25 – MTV has launched a cross-platform social campaign, #RoadToTheVMAs, which features the Moonman throughout Brooklyn and NYC. To date, the campaign has generated more than 53 million social media impressions, including over half a million likes on Instagram, 37.5 million impressions on Twitter, 14.4 million impressions on Facebook and over 1 million impressions on Tumblr.  MTV rolled out this year’s nominations as a series of stop motion videos created by 23-year old artist, Khoa, on the @MTV Instagram and Vine accounts.

MTV’s focus on social for this year’s VMAs should come as no surprise. Last week, we wrote about a Nielsen study that proves that there is a causal relationship between Twitter and TV ratings; last year’s VMA ratings were down more than 50% year over year – social is more important than ever.

As AdAge also reported today that MTV and Twitter are selling packages of promoted tweets to five sponsors for this year’s VMAs, including Unilever and Pepsi, “which will see their brands attached to videos posted to Twitter before, during and after the Aug. 25 broadcast…The Video Music Awards videos and highlights from Viacom will range from 15 seconds to about 90 seconds in length. Some will include five-second advertiser pre-roll; others will take the form of branded content.”

It will be very interesting to see what this year’s ratings will be given the partnership with Twitter, a  new socially-voted award, and a record-tying performance by Kanye.