YouTube movie trailers, social engagement campaigns and search engine marketing are increasingly critical to movie studios marketing new film releases, according to Google’s newly released white paper, which shows how search engine data can be used to predict box office performance.

Google’s research also found that movie goers consume an increasing amount of digital information before they buy their tickets.

Social engagement platforms can play a big role in the online advertising picture being painted by Google.  Social startups can help people share trailer videos and generating word of mouth buzz about a movie.

Googles Research

Search engine marketing is increasingly important for people learning about movies. Google (the #1 search engine) and YouTube (the #2 search engine in the world by query volume) get much of that traffic. Google had a 56 percent increase in movie related searches last year, despite a 9 percent decrease in the number of movies released in 2012.

GoogleGoogle.com Search Data

Google says their search data can be used to predict movie performance with amazing accuracy:

“Query volume and paid click volume – in conjunction with other movie-related variables (e.g. theater counts) – can predict a film’s opening weekend performance with 92% accuracy and subsequent weekend performance with 90% accuracy”.

YouTubeYouTube Search Data

YouTube is an important way for social influencers learn about movies and begin to spread the world early.

YouTube’s influence on movie choices can be seen in the predictive ability of its data:

“94% of variation in a film’s box office opening can be explained with trailer-related title search volume 4 weeks prior to release, coupled with seasonality and franchise status.”

Google’s Jennifer Prince on Box Office Research

Google Head of Entertainment Jennifer Prince explained her group’s research results to marketers at Variety’s Massive: The Advertising Summit in Hollywood California.

Jennifer Prince Google - Variety - Massive“There are many ways to reach movie goers across organic, social and search.

So much research is done before buying ticket.  It is important to look at all the steps people take online. Our research shows that there is a journey and a consumer experience when answering the question: ‘How am I going to spend my time?’

6-12 month out, the first movie trailer drops. It is critical to be on that path – and 60% of online video is consumed on YouTube. Trailer view searches  are predictive.  4 weeks out from release is when more avid viewers are making a decision.  More avid movie goers are looking to pull trailer – and these are the influencers.

More than 1/2 of people decide what to see on the day they see the movie.  Your message has to be delivered at the right time. On the mobile phone when they are at dinner before the movie, when they are driving to a theater within 3 miles and searching “AMC Santa Monica”.

When comes to search, consumer have intent – and you want to be there.”

Social Platforms & Movie Marketing

What is the SocialTimes takeaway from the Google research?: Social marketing will play a huge role in the future of movie marketing.

Google found that people consult 13 different sources of information before deciding what movie to see.  In addition to searches on Google, social platforms are emerging as an information source about new movies.

YouTube trailers viewing is highly predictive of movie success.  Social campaigns should be used to get those videos in front of people via social sharing.

Google searches are predictive of movie success as well.  So where do these searches come from? The answer is increasingly word of mouth movie buzz generated in social media.

Social platforms like Talenthouse are used by movie marketers to generate extensive social media activity in the weeks before a movie release, climaxing in a creative contest winner chosen by the film director the opening weekend.

Social marketers should read between the lines of Google’s research, and strive become an important part of the marketing mix that drives Google search activity.