Geoff Keighley, the producer of The Game Awards, wanted a way for viewers to vote for one of five Most Anticipated Game, Best eSports Team, and Best eSports Player nominees through Twitter Direct Messages and Facebook Messenger. Geoff had announced that he would be revealing nominees on November 14 at 10 am ET, and this is also when he wanted fan voting to begin. In addition to Twitter DM and Facebook Messenger, fan voting was also possible through Google by searching “The Game Awards voting,” and through the official Game Awards website. To keep the vote counts fair, each user was limited to only one vote per category per platform throughout the whole voting period. Once a user has voted on Twitter, they can share their vote with a pre-composed Tweet, follow the nominee, and visit a page that will tell them where they can watch #TheGameAwards. If you vote on Messenger, you can also follow the nominee and see where you can watch the show live. Google voting, on the other hand, is just a little bit different. Instead of only three categories to choose from, you have all 26. Once you vote, you can share your vote to a social platform of your choice and continue to another category.
On September 10, I had received an email from Geoff Keighley saying that he wanted to explore a way for fans to vote via Twitter DM. I, of course, was not going to pass up this opportunity, so I passed him along to Sebastian Pedavoli, Dan Nolan, and the rest of the team over at Proxima. Proxima specializes in building complex conversational experiences on their Iris Platform and has successfully run campaigns for Jack in the Box, the Hand In Hand Fund, MTV, ESL, NFL, NBA, and more! For such a big project, bringing Proxima into the picture was the right thing to do. We had a short Hangout session discussing all the possibilities that this bot could be and ended up going with a DM bot that consisted of a voting section, an FAQ section, and a section that would help someone find out where they could watch the awards show live. In addition to the bot, Geoff also wanted to run a reminder campaign. This campaign is for users who have voted through Twitter or Messenger and is composed of a simple Direct Message that sends from the official Game Awards Twitter or Facebook account.
Fast forward a few weeks later, and Geoff still seemed very keen about proceeding. He signed off on the Proposal on November 8 and the work began!
In addition to the Proxima team, Martin Craster from Twitter joined in on the work as well. He compiled a matrix, which has been used as an organization tool and shared it with everyone involved. Within this matrix was everything from the message text, descriptions, nominee names and handles, media URLs, and DM Card URLs. Pretty much everything we needed was in this one document. The Proxima team used this as they built because they could see everything that needed to go into the bot.
Once the building stage of the bot was complete, it was ready for testing. We connected both Twitter and Facebook test accounts to the bot and promoted it for testing. We tested it thoroughly and submitted any changes that needed correction. On November 13, the testing was complete, DMs opened up, and we connected the @TheGameAwards account to the bot.
To keep the voting fair, these voting experiences are programmed to start at the specific time that the client wants. If a user arrives early, they’ll get an error message telling them to come back when the voting period begins.
On the night of the show, voting ended. Users were sent a Reminder DM notifying them to tune in to the live stream. To date, Iris sent over 213k messages to over 12.5k people, peaking at 100 messages/sec. During the voting period, we collected 20.8k votes throughout the three categories.