Tracking the Academy Awards on Social Media.

Social media listening and benchmarking is a powerful tool for movie marketing.
Caroline Henley
February 16, 2015 - 4 min. read

It’s Oscar time! The nominees for best picture are…

  • American Sniper
  • Birdman
  • Boyhood
  • The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • The Imitation Game
  • Selma
  • The Theory of Everything
  • Whiplash

You may have your own ideas on which movie deserves to win the Oscar. But which movie has the most people talking?

Hollywood determines which types of movies they want to invest in based on how well previous movies have done. Ticket sales, awards, and how much attention these movies get are all factored in.

All you major Hollywood producers, listen up: there’s an easy way to assign numbers to movie buzz, if you are well-armed with social media monitoring tools.

So which movie deserves the Academy Award for “Best Film of the Year on Social”?

The theory of everything (lies in the listening report)
By running the query “[movie title] AND award,” we can compare the eight movies and their mentions across the news, blog posts, and social in the thick of awards season.

Academy Awards social media

Taking a look at the breakdown of mentions, you’ll see the awards buzz is neck-and-neck.

Academy Awards social media

Birdman is currently in the lead. Let’s take a look at why.

With 41% of “Birdman AND award” mentions coming from News sources, you can click through and quickly see if there are one or many news stories that are overwhelming the results. There are a variety of news stories mentioning “Birdman AND award;” after the movie won a few at the Golden Globes, SAGs, PGAs, etc, it’s safe to say that the movie is gathering a lot of steam between various news sources. The movie has got a healthy shot!

Academy Awards social media

Does the buzz from the Oscars extend past the US? Taking a look at the listening report’s demographics, 77.1% comes from the US; 7.6% from Canada; 2.5% from the UK; 2.4% from Australia; 2.3% from India; and so on.

Academy Awards social media

This data can do much to inform the marketing budgets of studios who plan internationally.

You’ll get whiplash (after looking at these numbers) 
I once was involved in promoting a big movie release (I was working for a book publisher, and the movie was an adaptation of a book). While we were collaborating with the film studio, they asked us to drive movie ticket sales with our (paltry) social budget, and had no plans to invest any of their own (mega) budget on social.

The movie was a psychological thriller. The studio’s marketing priorities were even scarier than the movie!

It seems movie marketing has come a long way in the past couple of years, as all the best picture nominees have very active, robust Facebook pages. Let’s take a look at which film is taking up the most real estate in the News Feed this awards season.

Academy Awards social media

And now we can look at which film is gathering the most new fans in advance of the Oscars.

Academy Awards social media

American Sniper has far and away the fastest growing page. Using tight copy, movie quotes, reviews, and pulling from the book and real-life characters the movie is based on, every post seems to be hitting a note with the page’s fans.

Academy Awards social media

You might have a large audience, but don’t post often, or get no love when you do post. So let’s look at the Facebook engagement between the nominees.

Academy Awards social media

Looking through all the content the eight different pages are posting gives you a sense of how different these movies are. But if you isolate all the best-performing posts, there are some interesting insights on what works best for movie marketing in general on Facebook.

Star power, of course, will get you tons of engagement. Here’s Birdman congratulating two of its stars, Emma Stone and Edward Norton, on their nominations.

Academy Awards social media

The Imitation Game’s page has picked up the movie’s activism by posting on gay rights, prompting great engagement from the movie’s fans. The Selma page has also emphasized the powerful civil rights messaging from its film.

Academy Awards social media

Nailing the tone of the movie has been working well for some of the pages. Check out Whiplash’s post copy, which feels right in line with the movie’s edgy dialogue.

The pages have all been posting reviews and award nominations formatted to stand boldly in the News Feed.

Academy Awards social media

One word: Cumberbatch!

Academy Awards social media

No sign of any raw video, though, which Facebook advises works well. These studios should have tons of video reel at the ready, in addition to video from all the press circuits during awards season.

Let’s not forget Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie that made the rounds last year. These pages should challenge themselves to create something that rivals it.

Academy Awards social media



When the theaters empty
Compare these movies’ social marketing efforts with out-of-home advertising, like billboards and retail marketing, or TV spots. For hundreds of thousands, to even millions of dollars, the spray-and-pray type campaigns touch the consumer once, then evaporate. On social, a Facebook ‘like’ or Twitter ‘follow’ allows you to engage with consumers daily, for an indefinite period–all for a much cheaper price than traditional ads. Investing heavily in social media marketing is a no-brainer for studios.

The next question for entertainment marketers will be what to do with these powerfully large audiences after the movie leaves the theater. If the studio doesn’t expect a movie sequel, will the page lie low until the DVD is released—and then what? There is a huge opportunity here for competition in the video on demand space. And the theater-to-DVD calendar will continue to see a giant shift in the next few years, if not disappear altogether.

Who are you wearing? 
We’ll also be tracking the red carpet on February 22nd. By creating a listening project that lists out the Oscars’ featured celebrities in the query “and wearing,” we’ll be able to see which star’s outfit is creating the most noise. On February 23rd, we’ll be able to announce who won the red carpet on social. 

Cover photo credit:

Effective Real-Time Marketing
What you need consider to create compelling content that engages your fans in real time.