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Taking Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star Contest to New Social Heights (Case Study)

For six years, iHeartRadio and Macy’s have been working together to find emerging music stars. Through their annual Macy’s iHeartRadio Rising Star contest, they’ve reached millions of music lovers online and received their votes for the next big star. Past contests have headlined artists like Los 5 and the late Christina Grimmie, granting them exposure on radio stations across the country.

This year, Macy’s and iHeart chose Zoomph to be a part of the collaboration. They needed a way to amplify the tie between music and fashion while growing the overall success of their competition, especially on social media.

The Challenge

Macy’s and iHeart challenged us with increasing user engagement on social media and creating “shoppable moments” that could elevate Macy’s as a fashion authority.

The Solution

We developed a social voting site that leveraged contestants as fashion influencers and let users “shop the look.” The site, which spotlighted all 10 nominees in this year’s competition, let users click on an artist’s outfit and instantly purchase clothes from Macy’s.
 


skylar stecker rising star contest page
james maslow rising star contestant page

 

To create a frictionless user experience, our team made sure that the site directed users to the right Macy’s pages, was mobile responsive, and integrated multimedia, like video, so that visitors could learn more about each artist without having to leave the site.
 


james maslow rising star artist page

 
The final site also gave participants two easy ways to vote: simply click “vote” or post to social media with the hashtag #RisingStar.

Macy’s and iHeart leveraged the Zoomph platform to track votes across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Using our custom workflows, they automated part of the counting process by having our platform sort and tag social posts by artist (mentions, hashtags, keywords).
 

 
ZPoints helped the team measure the impact of the competition online and pinpoint trending social conversations that resulted from the contest.

The Results

macys iheartradio rising star performance online

Votes poured in even though this year’s Rising Star contest featured 15 fewer nominees than last year.

By the end of Round One, when contestants were narrowed down to the top five, the team received 8.3 million votes—2.5 million more votes than last year’s Round One total.

By the end of the second and final round, the team had 15.5 million total votes, or more than 500,000 votes than the previous year.

Social media played a big role in this year’s success, according to activations coordinator at iHeartMedia, Amanda Platte.

“Using social media as a form of voting was really interesting,” Platte told us in an interview. “We’ll definitely be interested in that social engagement next year, now that we’ve seen those numbers…it’s something that we know is effective.”

The contest generated a total of 1.8 million posts across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (25% of which went to winner James Maslow)—a whopping 346% increase from last year’s total across Facebook and Twitter.

On the day of the big reveal, winner #JamesMaslow also trended on Twitter.
 

 

According to Platte, the shoppable moments helped to solidify Macy’s as a fashion destination as opposed to blind sponsors of the contest, something that the team had been working to improve for a while. In fact, this year’s competition exceeded many expectations.

“Maybe when we started [planning for this year’s contest], it sounded a little bit crazy. I know on my end I was like ‘how are we going to make this happen?’” said Platte. “I think at times the workload was very heavy and we really appreciated Zoomph’s willingness to work with us and get through our big ‘to-do’ list on everything.”

 
Need a starting point for your digital contest? Contact us!
 
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Digital Marketing & Strategy
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Activation & Engagement

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