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Special Project

Special Project
From the 11th Annual Shorty Awards

The 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards

Audience Honor in Live Events


The iHeartRadio social team set out to innovative the strategy for the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards in order to keep the momentum going from the highly successful 2017 show. By creating new socially voted categories, producing new campaign events and utilizing new social app features, the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards saw a record number of social media engagements and once again became one of the most talked about awards shows of the year.

Strategy and Execution

In order to increase the high influx of voting that the iHeartRadio Music Awards experienced the year prior, the social team set out to create new categories that would pique their audience's interest. With this in mind, iHeartRadio introduced new socially voted categories for Best Solo Breakout, Best Boy Band, Best Remix and Cutest Musician's Pet. Each of these categories generated new excitement and press attention for the show. In addition to capturing announce videos for the new categories with select nominees, the new Cutest Pet category drove musicians to create custom voting campaigns for their pet. To keep fans engaged in voting, newly created leaderboards were launched each week highlighting the leading vote-getters in each category.

Once again, the iHeartRadio social team reached out and partnered with a specific fan account for each of the 12 Taco Bell Best Fan Army nominees. These specific fan accounts were crowned the Official Fan Army Generals for the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards. However, in order to up the ante for the 2018 show, these fans were sent custom Best Fan Army swag bags and a special invite to Los Angeles to take part in our first-ever official Best Fan Army Celebration inside the iHeartRadio Theater in LA. At this event, which was held a day before the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the Fan Army Generals battled on stage in 3 rounds of game show-style trivia hosted by On Air With Ryan Seacrest personality Tanya Rad. The winner was given tickets to the iHeartRadio Music Awards and an additional 500 votes for their specific fan army. The celebration also featured a performance by former Best Fan Army-winning musicians 5 Seconds Of Summer and was broadcast live on Facebook and YouTube.

In order to amplify tune-in awareness and social mentions for the show, the iHeartRadio team created the social-first campaign "7 Awards In 7 Days." Every day during the 7 days leading up to the show, iHeartRadio revealed the winner of a category and obtained a video acceptance speech from the winning artist. These videos were launched each day at 9 a.m. ET and were published across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. In addition, iHeartRadio explored new features on Instagram stories and became the first awards show to create custom GIPHY stickers. By searching "iHeartRadio Music Awards" on the gif tab in IG Stories, fans could use custom-created gifs to design their story. Also, iHeartRadio worked with Taylor Swift on a special Instagram announcement, teasing that her music video for "Delicate" would premiere at the iHeartRadio Music Awards.

On the red carpet, iHeartRadio activated their social strategy in a few different areas. By securing a position near the fan-casted bleachers, iHeartRadio was able to capture exclusive photos and videos of artists interacting with their biggest fans. In addition, iHeartRadio set up a staged photo opportunity where the night's biggest stars posed for slow motion videos and portraits that were posted across all of iHeartRadio's social channels. An official red carpet Facebook Live was hosted on the iHeartRadio Facebook page where artists interacted with the cast of the Elvis Duran Morning Show.

During the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the iHeartRadio social team was in constant contact with artists' teams who provided acceptance speech videos after winners were announced - the most viral of which was the acceptance video from Korean pop group BTS, who accepted the award for Best Fan Army.


The 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards generated a record 520 Million social votes, with 255 million votes coming from the new socially voted categories implemented by the iHeartRadio social team.

The show's official hashtag, #iHeartAwards2018, trended #1 in the United States and #1 worldwide. The 10.8 million interactions scored on the night of the show were two times the combined amount of the finale of The Bachelor and the premiere of the new American Idol, both of which aired the same week as the awards show. The official red carpet live stream reached 1.1 Million people.

Over the course of the entire campaign, the iHeartRadio Music Awards social strategy produced over 200 billion social media impressions and 105 Million video views. The custom iHeartRadio Music Awards gifs saw 37 million views and the first-ever Best Fan Army Pre-Show reached over 250,000 people while trending #4 in the United States.


Video for The 2018 iHeartRadio Music Awards

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