The oscar for best advertiser goes to…

See a condensed version of our report in Adweek.

According to TV ratings, Oscars viewership hit a six-year low. While viewership numbers give an indication of the total number of people watching something, it doesn’t provide any further depth. For brands, reaching a lot of people doesn’t mean engaging the right people.

Social data is more powerful. It’s less biased, has greater coverage, and provides the ability to link engagements across an event and brands in real-time. Therefore, it paints a better picture of whether an event and its brand placements hit the mark with their audience. By collecting over 6.5 million Oscars engagements across Facebook and Twitter, we broke down the highlights of the night and the brands that won over the Oscars’ audience.

Neil Patrick Harris was nervous about following up Ellen’s hosting duties. Rightfully so, this year there was no selfie to break Twitter. Unlike his predecessor, the high points of the night revolved around the films and actors rather than the host. Here are the highlights.

It’s more difficult than ever for brands to move their audiences and win brand preference. This year, Samsung managed to repeat the feat for best advertiser at the Oscars, albeit with very different tactics. Instead of blatant product placement during the show, Samsung monopolized the airtime with more than 7 minutes of commercials and integrations.

Other standout brands include Dove and Dior whose messages and audience aligned with the event. Dove’s #SpeakBeautiful spot was timely on a night when women’s issues were in focus. Dior capitalized on the high fashion loving red carpet and reinforced it later in the night with a commercial starring Oscar winner Natalie Portman.

McDonald’s is perhaps the most surprising brand to make our list. The fast food chain was successful at integrating their brand into the Oscars by demonstrating that their Big Mac, like many movies, is so iconic only a handful of words are needed to clearly define it.

Major sponsor JCPenney was out of their element at the Oscars. JCPenney’s resourceful, DIY attitude didn’t land with an audience who preferred to dream about flawless designer threads and dote on the stars. American Express and Cadillac’s new campaigns focusing on entrepreneurial dreamers who overcame adversity resonated much better with the Oscars audience.

Our affinity analysis between the winning Oscar films and the event’s major sponsors may help brands decide which films they should do integrations with in the future. For Cadillac, the top film was Whiplash, but American Express consumers showed more interest for Selma.

Social data combined with the right analytics is a powerful tool for uncovering how people think and behave. By applying insights from social data, marketers can better measure, plan, and buy media.