Google has introduced a model to predict the box office success of movies based on search data, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Using YouTube and Google search patterns for movie trailers, the company says it can predict the strength of opening weekend revenue up to four weeks in advance, with 94 percent accuracy.
“While we’ve always known that trailers are an important aspect of the movie decision-making process, we were surprised at how strongly trailer search volume is linked to intent at this particular point in time,” Jennifer Prince, Google's head of industry, media and entertainment, told Wired. “While news articles or movie reviews can give you the facts from another person’s perspective, movie trailers allow individuals to experience the film firsthand, and that’s what can really help a moviegoer form an opinion about a movie.”
Andrea Chen, Google's principal industry analyst for media and entertainment, revealed the study, "Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search," in a blog.
One week out, the company analyzes search volume for the film's title.
"In the seven day window prior to a film’s release date, if a film receives 250,000 search queries more than a similar film, the film with more queries is likely to perform up to $4.3 million better during opening weekend," Chen wrote in the blog. "When looking at search ad click volume, if a film has 20,000 more paid clicks than a similar film, it is expected to bring in up to $7.5M more during opening weekend."
Google cracked the basics of this formula by analyzing the top 99 movies of 2012.
When franchise movies like The Hunger Games or The Avengers are released, people search for them by name, so advertisers have the ability to capitalize on title-related search items. During slower box office months, when people search for general things like "movie tickets," marketers should advertise against these generic terms, Google said.
According to Google data, the average moviegoer consults 13 sources before deciding what movie to watch. Film searches on Google are up 56 percent from 2011 to 2012, which the company says indicates movie marketing should replace a renewed emphasis on search-based advertising.
“Ultimately, it is this online engagement that gives us tangible insight into intent,” Chen wrote.