Can Google predict box office takings?


Google claims to be able to predict box-office takings with 94% accuracy, up to four weeks ahead of a movie’s premiere, opening new opportunities for marketers in the process.


Using its search data, Google claims that cinema goers consult 13 sources before deciding which film to go and see.

In a blog post titled 'Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search', Andrea Chen, Principal Industry Analyst, Media and Entertainment for Google, said that trailer-search data along seasonal information was key to forecasting success.

To predict within one week out from a film's opening, Google uses search volume for a film's title rather than its trailer and combines it with data such as theatrr counts to make predictions that are 92 per cent accurate.

'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 writes.

'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 $7.5 million more during opening weekend.'

The blog post seems to show that deciding to see a film on a whim is a thing of the past for most people.

According to research conducted by Google, a moviegoer will consult 13 sources before making a decision to see a film, and film searches on Google were up 56 per cent from 2011 to 2012.

The search giant has also developed a formula that can predict how movies will perform at the box office the week after their opening weekend with 90 per cent accuracy by analyzing paid ad clicks rather than search statistics.

'Our hypothesis is that once a film has opened, search ad clicks are a strong indicator of intent to purchase a ticket whereas the intent associated with a search query is more varied (i.e., undecided moviegoers searching for reviews),' writes Chen.

Read the Google blog post here

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