The Oscars may be the most-watched awards show on TV — but when it comes to social media, it’s the Grammys that garners the most attention. That’s according to Nielsen, which has finished calculating its Social Content Ratings for the just-ended awards season.
Nielsen monitored social activity for every awards show that aired between Aug. 1, 2018, and Feb. 24, 2019. The 61st Annual Grammy Awards, which aired Feb. 10 on CBS, was easily the kudocast with the most social interactions (such as likes, comments, shares, retweets) — 26.2 million. The Oscars, which went live two weeks later on ABC, wasn’t even close, at 17.7 million interactions.
This year, six of the top ten “most-social” awards shows were music-oriented: Besides the Grammys, that included the 2018 MTV Video Music Awards, Premio Lo Nuestro 2019, the 2018 American Music Awards, the 19th Annual Latin Grammy Awards, and the Latin American Music Awards. Here’s the full chart:
It’s perhaps no surprise that music kudocasts dominate the list. Musicians, after all, usually boast the most followers on sites like Twitter — with stars like Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, and Taylor Swift leading the charge.
In its report (read it in full here), Nielsen notes that “discussions around award shows in particular are thriving on social media feeds, allowing fans, celebrities and businesses to gush about the winners, gaffes and viral moments that only live TV specials can provide. Not to mention, viewers can do this all in real-time, on platforms that encourage high-volume engagement that has the entire Internet in on the conversation.”
During the Grammys, Nielsen reports that Cardi B’s Instagram post after winning the award for best rap album led all social posts with “1.6 million engagements in the linear window— which is more social engagements than some shows generate across all of their official accounts combined.”
Meanwhile, the most social Oscars-related post came from Angela Bassett, whose Instagram image of her alongside husband Courtney B. Vance generated more than 515,000 engagements.
Other major Grammy moments included when host Alicia Keys played across two pianos at once in her tribute to pianist Hazel Scott. That moment generated close to 80,000 interactions, while a video that Keys posted to social media encouraging audiences to tune into the performance garnered over 116,000 owned engagements.
The impact of such social media attention can also be measured, as Nielsen noted that in the minutes following the post and during the performance, Grammys ratings ticked up 10 percent compared to the telecast’s average rating.
At the Oscars, the conversation peaked with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s performance of “Shallow,” which generated 69,000 Twitter interactions. The performance helped generate a sale of about 56,000 downloads from Oscars Sunday to the day after, according to Nielsen Music. That’s more than the sales of the other four Best Original Song nominees combined.
Meanwhile, Nielsen also looked at the type of posts — and the people behind the posts — that led to the most engagement during awards shows.
During the Grammys, for example, most of the engagement (69%) came from talent involved with the show (rather than posts from the network or the program), which helped bolster the telecast’s top social ranking among awards shows.
That balance was different with the Oscars, however: The Oscarcast’s social posts tied with talent (47% each) for the biggest share of engagement. For the MTV VMAs, it was the network-generated posts (56%) that led all engagement.
In the case of the Grammys, Oscars and VMAs, the most popular posts were images, compared to text, video, GIFs, and other forms.
Social media can also help brands if they’re connected to these live events. Nielsen noted that Camila Cabello’s MasterCard ad during the Grammys, Lady Gaga’s Tiffany diamond at the Oscars, and Taco Bell’s sponsorship of the Best New Artist award at the VMAs also had an impact — at least among social media users who were already posting about the awards shows.