Google Play’s Real-Time Marketing at the Oscars

Huge cultural events such as the Oscars are too big for just one screen. According to Nielsen research, 84% of smartphone and tablet owners are watching TV with a second screen in hand. For marketers, this presents an incredible opportunity to reach consumers in real-time.


During the Oscars, Google Play used hyper-relevant marketing to connect with movie fans in real-time. Just before the award for Best Picture winner was announced, there were eight separate, film-specific ads ready to go live. The moment that Birdman won, ads congratulating the film were pushed to second-screen devices. What used to take hours to scale took mere seconds, and viewers could go directly to the Google Play Store to buy or rent the winning film.
This real-time strategy brought huge rewards. There was a 59% lift in searches for Google Play movies among those who saw the ads, according to Google’s Brand Lift measurement tool.

As we continue to rethink real-time, we’re writing the rules as we go. Here are four solid lessons marketers can learn from this Oscars experience:
  1. Start with data and insights. Data revealed that consumers watch television with a second screen in hand, and that searches for award-winning films spike immediately after the award is announced. 
  2. Build creative with flexibility in mind. Make sure you can update and adapt your creative in real-time to be as relevant and timely as possible.
  3. Make real-time purposeful and additive. It’s important that your brand is adding to the user’s experience, not just interrupting the moment.
  4. Measure the impact of real-time efforts. Real-time marketing requires significant advance planning. Was it worth it? Google Play ran a test and control experiment to find out. The test versions were the real-time ads that congratulated the winners as they were announced. The controls were a group of generic ads that featured all Oscars movies on Google Play. Our test proved successful: Click-through rates of the test/real-time ads were 19% higher than the control ads.
Learn more about this real-time marketing play at Think with Google.