MTV VMA Best New Artist Voting

The MTV Video Music Awards are one of the annual highlights of the global music calendar, with massive television coverage and an ever-increasing social media presence. In 2016 #VMAs was the No. 1 global trending hashtag on Twitter for 13 hours on the day of show.

This year, MTV, sponsored by Taco Bell decided to bring the voting for the Best New Artist Award to the people via Twitter.


MTV wanted a simple way for their 15.6 million Twitter fans to vote for one of the six Best New Artist nominees through Direct Message. As Taco Bell were a sponsor of the #VMAs, the experience needed to include Twitter’s new Persona functionality where a multiple brands or people can switch personas in the same conversation.

To meet the terms and conditions of the VMAs, the experience could only allow voting between midnight on the 18th of August ET and midnight 26 August ET and each Twitter user could only vote once per day. MTV also required access to the live voting results, as the final two artists would then go head-to-head in a tweet vote battle.

In addition to the legal requirements, MTV wanted the experience to include exclusive videos of the nominees, the ability for fans to share their vote with a tweet, follow the nominees and send a tweet reminder to all the fans who voted to watch the #VMAs live! No small feat for such a massive campaign.


In collaboration with Twitter and MTV, Proxima used Iris to create an intuitive Direct Message experience where the user could explore, vote and share their vote in less than a minute.

MTV opened their Direct Messages the day before voting commenced, and Iris was programmed to allow voting from midnight on the 18th of August for just over a week.

To keep the experience streamlined, any text response received a cute taco gif, prompting the user to try again using the built in keyboards.

 Oops, didn’t get that! Tap below to try again.

Oops, didn’t get that! Tap below to try again.


MTV and Taco Bell promoted Direct Message cards, where fans could enter MTV’s direct messages with a single click from the ad card, as well as allowing any fan to begin the experience directly from MTV’s direct messages.

Whenever a fan cast their vote they could tweet out a precomposed tweet which included an embedded DM card, allowing fans to increase the organic reach with their own friends and followers.

To address MTV’s need for live results, Proxima created a secure live dashboard showing the results for each nominee which MTV could access at any time. This provided the data required to determine and promote voting for the final two nominees with a short turnaround time.

At the end of the voting period, Iris closed off the ability for fans to enter the experience automatically, and gave fans a reminder to tune in to the #VMAs that night.

At 7pm ET, Iris began to send tweets to the over 45k unique users who voted with a video, urging fans to tune in to the #VMAs!

45 minutes later, a Conversational ad card was promoted by @MTV allowing fans to vote for the final two nominees while the #VMAs were live on air. 


Using Twitter to create a shared social experience in the lead up to a traditional scheduled TV program, @MTV opened up an engaging new way for fans to participate in the 2017 MTV VMAs.

Iris sent over 240k direct messages to over 56k unique users who cast over 53k votes over the nine-day voting period. Each vote was completed in an average of 40 seconds and votes were shared organically over 17k times.