Thursday, June 06, 2013

Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search

It’s a typical Friday night quandary—you want to see a movie, but the question is, what movie should you watch? The decision to see a specific film actually involves quite a bit of research, and as moviegoers are increasingly turning to search to learn more about various titles, we have been able to identify general search patterns that give us insight into awareness and intent levels. In ‘Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search,’ we examine how Google search and paid ad click patterns can predict box office revenue, and what digital engagement can tell us about the moviegoer decision-making process.

We took a look at 99 of the top box office hits in 2012, and drew these key findings about the way people search for movies:
  • The decision to see a movie is a very highly-considered research process. On average, moviegoers consult 13 sources before they make a decision.* And people are now searching more than before - while overall new movie releases were down last year, searches in the movie category on Google are up 56% from 2011 to 2012, signaling an increase in digital engagement and appetite for more information.
  • Trailer-related search trends four weeks out from a movie release provide strong predictive power for opening weekend box office revenue. Interestingly, while we see more search volume in weeks closer to the release week, the Google and YouTube search patterns four weeks out from the release have the strongest link to moviegoer intent. At four weeks out, 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% accuracy.
  • Opening weekend prediction modeling shows high correlation between search volume / paid click volume and box office revenue. 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 $4.3M better during opening weekend. 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.
  • Moviegoers search differently for big movie releases. During slower box office weeks, we see more searches on generic terms (such as "new movies" or “movie tickets”), whereas during the week of a tentpole movie release we see more searches on movie titles (such as "The Hunger Games" or "Avengers"). For tentpole film releases, marketers have the ability to capture more interest by advertising on title-related search terms, whereas for non-tentpole releases it is important to advertise on more generic terms.
  • 48% of moviegoers decide what film to watch the day they purchase their ticket, so it’s important to have a continued search presence through opening weekend and beyond.*
By understanding how and when moviegoers search for information, movie marketers have the opportunity to adjust their strategies to further engage, and more importantly, convince moviegoers to choose their film. To learn more, download the full whitepaper from Think with Google.

Posted by Andrea Chen, Principal Industry Analyst, Media and Entertainment

*Source: Google Social Research Study, December 2012