A newly released white paper from Google claims the search engine can predict a movie’s opening weekend performance within 92 percent accuracy based on search query and paid click volume.
After evaluating search and paid click data for 99 top box office films in 2012, Google correlated the data with each film’s success by analyzing search and paid click volume during the seven day window prior to the film’s release date.
According to Google, if 250,000 more search queries happen for one film over a similar film, the film with the most search queries is likely to generate up to $4.3 million more than the film with fewer searches. In terms of paid click performance, a film that gets 20,000 more paid clicks over a similar film is expected to generate $7.5 million more during opening weekend.
Google’s analysis is not constrained only to Google search and paid click volume. Movie-trailer related searches that happen four weeks out from a movie’s release date may also be able to predict the film’s success. One key insight from the white paper states, “Trailer search volume on Google coupled with both the franchise status of the movie and seasonality can predict opening weekend box office revenue with 94 percent accuracy.”
According to the white paper, Google saw a 56 percent increase in movie searches last year, even though there was a 9 percent decrease in the number of movie releases in 2012. Google notes, the increase in movie searches signals “…an increase in digital engagement and appetite for more information.”
Per Google’s statistics, 48 percent of moviegoers decide what movie they want to see on the day they go to the theater. Since movie decisions also happen after opening weekend, Google points out that there are still marketing opportunities beyond a film’s initial release. Google found that paid clicks that happen during the Monday through Thursday stretch after a movie premier can indicate how the film will perform against new releases and other films, “If a film garners 10,000 more paid clicks than a similar holdover film, that film is likely to perform approximately $1.9 to $3.5 million better.”
While Google search and paid click data alone is not necessarily going to give film makers direct insight into how their movie will perform, it does reinforce the significance of searchable content and movie trailers throughout a moviegoer’s decision making process.