2022 VMAs: MTV Prioritizes Social Engagement with Younger Audiences

To drive tune-in and engagement for Sunday’s Video Music Awards telecast, MTV is turning to TikTok, Roblox and other social platforms to get the conversation started and keep it going after the Moon Man statuettes are handed out.

The VMAs are the “social media Super Bowl” for MTV and the team behind the VMAs has done more extensive work than ever before in the social realm in an effort to pull out all the stops for this year’s bash, according to Tyler Hissey, senior VP of digital marketing for Paramount Media Networks and MTV Entertainment Studios.

Social media chatter about the VMAs is up 121% from where it at the same point in 2021. Online voting for the event is up 10%.

“Everything has really been driven by our strategy of engaging the fandoms of VMA-nominated artists, whether it’s for Nicki Minaj, or the BTS Army, or the Blinks for Blackpink, we’ve seen the fandom show up and show out,” Hissey said. “We have seen an incredible response when it comes to voting this year, in part due to some social-specific categories.”

Hissey noted that the Artist of the Year category was exclusively determined through Instagram Story voting through MTV’s Instagram account, which launched on Monday.

On the TikTok side, MTV worked with the creator-friendly platform to launch an official hashtag challenge on Friday for the show called #PartyWithVMAs, in which users can create videos with an augmented reality filter that includes a dancing moon person, pulling from the imagery of the physical awards given out. Videos with the hashtag already have close to 100 million views on the platform.

“TikTok is obviously a huge part of culture, music culture especially, so we want to make sure we’re showing up there in a big way,” Hissey said. “That’s why we launched it on a Friday, leading into the Sunday show as much as possible.”

In another effort to reach younger audiences, MTV on Aug. 12 launched the VMA Experience on the online gaming site Roblox. That has generated some 1.3 million minutes of playtime from users to date, Hissey said. The majority of the users are in the sweet spot of the 13-24 age range that MTV has been targeting for VMA social engagement.

With all of these social media initiatives in play, Hissey said that even beyond hitting numbers and social media engagement goals, the MTV team aims to establish an emotional connection to the longstanding award show for newer, younger audiences.

“The real north star purpose with everything that we’re doing on social media is to develop an affinity for MTV and the VMAs with younger audiences with the intention of creating a long-term relationship,” Hissey said. “If someone’s finding out about the VMAs for the first time through Roblox, ideally they will create an emotional connection to the brand for many years to come.”

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