Here’s How Google Instantly Built Real-Time Ads to Promote Oscar-Winning Movies

Data showed interest in winners lasts just 15 minutes

Google hit the Oscars with a rare real-time marketing campaign, one that quickly began promoting links to buy and stream the winning films moments after stars accepted their awards.

Google said the Oscar campaign for iTunes competitor Google Play was the first time it used its ad technology to advertise its own business, though it has run similar campaigns for other brands like one for Nike during the World Cup.

The search giant has been building out its ad network to not just deliver ads in real-time but also craft the creative on the fly.

It's basically an automated shop for making ad copy and delivering it across the Web and mobile devices. It used the same system for EA Sports, to advertise Madden 15 last year.

Google serves these ads across its online display network and AdMob app partners.

Google has developed these technologies for generating ads in real time as it competes with platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which have become go-to spots for brands during the biggest marketing nights of the year—from the Super Bowl to the Oscars.

Twitter, especially, has become a natural fit for brands when it comes to instantaneous advertising. The messaging service's grasp on moment-by-moment trends gives brands an advantage when they want to jump into the conversation.

Google, however, has its own real-time view of the online psyche—it's called search. And the company put that to use with its Google Play ads during the Oscars.

For instance, Google said that based on past search trends—with people looking up stars or movies during previous awards shows—interest in the winners only lasts about 15 minutes.

So, after each major award was announced, Google Play served a customized congratulatory ad, and within 15 minutes it was on to the next real-time ad for the next winner, the company said. Google would not say how many movie sales the campaign generated, but the ads were served across 650,000-plus apps and its sprawling online display network of websites.