Stand Out on Mobile Marketing’s Red Carpet: How to Put Together an Effective Oscars Strategy

Team Braze By Team Braze Feb 14, 2017

Dear reader: This blog post is vintage Appboy. We invite you to enjoy the wisdom of our former selves—and then for more information, check out our new Cross-Channel Engagement Difference Report.

The Academy Awards is the biggest night of awards season—Hollywood’s Super Bowl. While its viewership is smaller than the Super Bowl, the Oscars is the most-watched entertainment broadcast on television year after year. In 2016, the live program drew 34.3 million viewers in the US alone, and host network ABC consistently dominates the evening. In 2015, ABC had three times the combined viewership of competitors CBS, NBC, and Fox during the broadcast. With numbers like these, it’s no wonder that the Oscars has become a major tentpole for marketers. ABC knows it, too, running 30-second spots for about $2 million each (an estimated $110 million total ad spend in 2015).

Who watches the Oscars and why?

People who watch the Oscars are typically interested in movies, but also in entertainment, celebrities, and fashion. Some viewers are avid movie-buffs—people who choose which movies to see based on awards and acclaim (and who may well have opinions about which film really deserves “Best Cinematography” or “Best Sound Design”). Then there are the others who care more about the fashion and celebrities that brighten up the Oscars—perhaps their pick for best actor or actress is less about performance and more about who they like the best or relate to the most.

For a lot of viewers, watching the Oscars isn’t just entertainment—it’s a social activity, with many people attending Academy Awards viewing parties hosted at bars or by friends and family members. After all, while the winner list, speeches, and fashion will be easily accessible online, there is something special about getting to be around other people when something iconic happens—like when Leonardo Dicaprio finally won his Oscar after 6 nominations. The broadcast is never short of these kinds of culturally significant moments. There are the planned host antics like Ellen’s pizza delivery. There are the history-making moments like La La Land’s 14 nominations (the most nominations for one film since The Titanic). And there are the serious moments, like the ongoing trend of celebrities using their acceptance speeches to discuss political and social issues they care about.

How can you best reach your users?

With so many viewers and such a wide range of interests, it can feel daunting to try to reach and engage your users during the Academy Awards. But making the most of this sort of major cultural tentpole doesn’t have to be a struggle.

Segmentation can help. This tool makes it possible to separate users into groups in order to provide your audience with content that’s more relevant and valuable to the people receiving it. By sending messages tailored to specific, targeted segments, marketers can significantly bolster the effectiveness of their customer messaging and increase conversions by 200%. Let’s take a look at how segmentation filters can enhance your conversations with your users before, during, and after the Academy Awards.


Segmenting your audience by location is a simple way to connect with users. Knowing their time zone, their language, or the goings-on in their area can help you craft messages that matter to them.

You can use location-based segmentation to provide your users with helpful information based on their current area. For example, a ride-sharing app could send out a push notification letting users known about traffic conditions or helping them avoid surge pricing on their way to or from their viewing parties.

A rideshare company's push notification


The Oscars are a big night for social media—particularly Twitter. In fact, women who used Twitter during the 2014 Academy Awards watched for 39% longer than those who were not using the app. Each year there are millions of tweets with popular hashtags ranging from the outraged #OscarsSoWhite leading up to the show, the perpetually popular #RedCarpet, as well as tweets responding to exciting speeches or events onscreen.

Segmenting your users based on whether they’ve connected to their social apps—and maybe combining that information with how often they share your app’s content to their social sites—can be a great indicator for whether to engage with them about the goings on of the Oscars.


When you segment by customer behaviors, you’re filtering users based on whether they have performed a specific action. That action could be registering for an account, making a purchase within your app, or a lot of other things.

For the Oscars, a social media, entertainment, or news app could create a custom event for opting into Oscars-related news. This could act as both an opportunity to re-invite some users to opt-in to push and as a tool to learn more about your users’ interests. Special bonus? If users opt-in to Oscars news, your audience is less likely to have negative reactions from #spoilers! Plus, since we know that searches for movies and stars peak within 15 minutes after each winner is announced, you can have relevant content like “Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s best movie moments ranked” ready to go when each envelope is opened.

News app push notification

Here’s an example of a push notification for a customer who has opted-in to receive Oscars messaging throughout the program

news app push notification

For a user who didn’t opt-in, here’s an example of some more generic, but still culturally relevant messaging


With a big marketing opportunity like the Oscars on the horizon, it can be a good idea to segment users by how interested and engaged they are with your app leading up to the event. By looking at customer data like the number of sessions or purchases leading up to the Oscars, you can tailor messages to a more engaged audience while keeping your outreach relevant.

For example, if you’re a movie ticket app and you’ve got users that have purchased tickets several times in the weeks leading up to the Oscars, help them prepare for the broadcast—send them an email, push notification, or in-app message (or all three!) letting them know which of the Best Picture nominees are still in theaters before the big show.

Get ready

Is your mobile marketing red carpet ready? Download Appboy’s Oscars Cheat Sheet to learn how to make the most of your mobile marketing before, during, and after the Academy Awards.

Big Show Cheat Sheet

Team Braze

Team Braze

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