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MTV Video Music Awards has massive response; BTS, Toyota lead reactions

With the highly anticipated MTV Video Music Awards set for this past Sunday, viewers were excited to find out how the show would go on in the middle of a pandemic. While the awards were still technically hosted in New York City, performances were pre-recorded with neighborhoods in the city featured throughout the night. Despite being a virtual event, the VMA’s were still able to attract big-name artists to perform including BTS, the Weeknd, and Arianna Grande and Lady Gaga. We decided to take a look at how many Emotional Reactions the event was able to generate online, which artists were able to have the biggest impact on the night, and an advertiser that was able to successfully integrate their campaign into the MTV Video Music Awards.

How big of an impact did the MTV Video Music Awards have on the night?

  • Overall, the event was able to drive extremely high levels of engagement, with over 4 million total Tweets (+173% compared to 2019), and 2.2 million Emotional Reactions (+252% compared to 2019)
    • This equates to a high 56% Reaction Rate (+252% compared to 2019)
    • Despite the event being virtual this year, ‘love’ Emotional Reactions spiked 16% compared to the 2019 Video Music Awards
  • While most of the Emotional Reactions occurred during the airing of the Video Music Awards, 3.3% of conversation occurred outside of the airing window
  • Overwhelmingly, response to the Video Music Awards was positive with 69% of Emotional Reactions showing ‘love’, 8% showing ‘congrats’, and 3% showing ‘happy’
    • Testimonials:
      • Love: “@theweeknd wins VIDEO of the YEAR! 🔥🔥🔥 #VMAs”
      • Congrats: “@MTV @BTS_twt SOOOO DESERVING!!!! ✨ CONGRATS BOYS!! 🤘🏻”

Who were the top performers of the night?

  • Outside of winning awards for choreography, pop video, K-pop, and group, BTS drove 24% of the conversation around the Video Music Awards
    • Beyond winning big at the award show, BTS also performed their song Dynamite which was another large driver of conversation around the uber-popular boy band from Korea
      • “OMG bts won all 4 awards and I’m so proud uwu :’)”
    • Emotional Reactions were also extremely positive around the band during the Video Music Awards, earning 15% more ‘love’ Emotional Reactions than the average of the event
  • Lady Gaga was also a massive driver of Emotional Reactions (3.8% of total Emotional Reactions) around the MTV Video Music Awards due to her 5 wins and her extremely successful performance during the event, which she performed alongside Arianna Grande
    • Due to her success in the categories she was nominated for, 23% of Lady Gaga’s Emotional Reactions were ‘congrats’, an increase of 15% when compared to the average performance across the night
      • “The one and only. Mother monster @ladygaga 🧡”
      • “Lady Gaga did that Ariana slayed her vocals fr fr”
  • The other largest drivers of Emotional Reaction over the awards were Ariana Grande (2.4%), the host of the event Keke Palmer (0.8%), Miley Cyrus (0.6%), and Doja Cat (0.5%)

Who was the standout advertiser of the night?

  • Outside of top performances and performers of the night, Toyota was also able to drive over 2.2 thousand Emotional Reactions with segments featuring both Latin American boy band CNCO and Colombian reggaeton singer J Balvin
  • Toyota was successful in this integration with the MTV Video Music Awards driving over 91% ‘love’ Emotional Reactions, 2.1% ‘excited’ Emotional Reactions, and 1.1% ‘crazy’ Emotional Reactions
    • Testimonials:
      • Love: “The best thing about the VMAs so far is this Toyota commercial”
      • Excited: “@CNCOmusic @Toyota @MTV I’m so proud of you guys. I can’t wait to watch your performance!! #CNCOxVMAs”
      • Crazy: “Wow! This @Toyota J Balvin spot really captured the essence of the NYC I know. This is energy! #VMAs”
  • Viewers were positively reacting to Toyota’s focus of including so many Latin American artists in their segments
    • “Afro-Latino representation? Wow MTV & Toyota #VMAs”
    • “#highlander @Toyota nice video, thanks for embracing Latinos during the #VMAs”


  • The MTV Video Music Awards were a massive success and able to drive well over 2.2 million Emotional Reactions in the 48 hours surrounding the event
  • K-pop boy band BTS was able to drive the majority of the conversation around the awards, driving 24% of total Emotional Reactions
  • Toyota was able to introduce multiple successful segments throughout the night driving overwhelmingly positive Emotional Reactions