Social Media and Digital Marketing Show Box Office Impact

Digital marketing had a significant presence in 2013, when some of the biggest viral campaigns were rolled out and more money was flooding into Hollywood’s digital marketing budgets. Intent, interest and awareness levels among consumers could be accurately measured by sites such as Google, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, specifically allowing for box office predictions — often predictions of great accuracy — in the early stages before films were released.

According to an article in Variety by MoviePilot.com co-founder CEO Tobias Bauckhage, 2013 was also an “all-time record year” for domestic and global box offices. Coupled with a huge growth in digital marketing and social media in Hollywood, “digital savvy has become the new must-have.”

Bauckhage says MoviePilot “studied a subset of the most recent theatrical releases, focusing on four sets of data,” including Facebook fan numbers, YouTube trailer counts, Twitter buzz and Google searches to answer the questions: “Does digital data offer indicators that can be used to monitor marketing effectiveness, calibrate spending and predict box office success? Even before awareness has turned into intent?”

MoviePilot analyzed the seven days leading up to each release, “when marketing campaigns should be at their peak,” the article notes. “We also looked for early indicators, months before release. The same four indicators are also used by most of the digital marketing teams at the studios when they come together weekly and make their marketing decisions.”

Bauckhage says these combined metrics gave a good impression of how well a movie’s marketing campaign worked. “Sometimes it is hard to distinguish if the numbers are the result or the driver of a marketing campaign,” he writes. Though Bauckhage notes there are limitations to the data, “it’s only 2013. It’s still early days in the relationship between Hollywood and Big Data.”

The article provides social and search effectiveness grades for films including “Anchorman 2,” “American Hustle,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” “47 Ronin” and “Grudge Match.”