Amid all of the talk about hol­i­day shop­ping, another indus­try is hav­ing its crit­i­cal sales sea­son: movies.

We’re mid­way through one of the largest gross­ing hol­i­day movie sea­sons ever, and, as we pre­dicted four weeks ago, “Ender’s Game” and “Deliv­ery Man” were not prof­itable, while “Thor: The Dark World” and “The Hunger Games: Catch­ing Fire” were money makers.

The pre­dic­tion was based on an Adobe Dig­i­tal Index analy­sis of nearly 100 mil­lion men­tions of recent movie names on eight social media net­works (Twit­ter, Face­book, YouTube, Blog­ger, Word­Press, Google+, Red­dit, and Tum­blr), which found that the amount of conversation—sometimes referred to as “social buzz”—is a spot-on pre­dic­tor of movie profitability.

Next Hits And Misses
With more than 1 mil­lion men­tions already in Decem­ber, “Anchor­man 2: The Leg­end Con­tin­ues” and “The Hob­bit: The Des­o­la­tion of Smaug” are the next win­ter cin­ema stars, accord­ing to the social buzz. Since we have seen high lev­els of men­tions turn into movie prof­itabil­ity in the past, we fully expect these films to gen­er­ate rev­enue above the cost of pro­duc­tion and to stand out among the season’s blockbusters.

Social men­tions for “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit”–originally slot­ted for Decem­ber release, but pushed to January—are lim­ited, at best, in num­ber. Another film that looks as if it might not blow the doors off of the pop­corn stand, based on social buzz, is “47 Ronin”; this one might not be prof­itable at all.

Movie Tix To Go
Fur­ther­more, the invest­ment of online ticket com­pa­nies in mobile apps, mobile-enhanced sites, and mobile-specific deals is prov­ing to be a wise one. Based on an analy­sis of more than 2 bil­lion vis­its to 12 online ticket-sales sites, smart­phones show the largest growth for online ticket sales this hol­i­day sea­son, up 100% year over year (YoY). They now account for more than one-third of vis­its to online tick­et­ing sites and nearly 20% of rev­enue. As ADI has also demon­strated withhol­i­day com­merce data, the increase in pen­e­tra­tion, screen size, and data-connection speeds on mobile devices, as well as the ease of trans­act­ing via mobile-optimized sites and appli­ca­tions, is chang­ing the nature of ticket sales for the movie industry.

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Mar­ket­ing Is The New Finance

Mea­sur­ing social men­tions and sen­ti­ment is an addi­tional way that mar­ket­ing teams can impact strate­gic busi­ness deci­sions. In this case, by using a social media lis­ten­ing plat­form, movie mar­keters can pro­vide another data point to pre­dict prod­uct suc­cess in the mar­ket. Mar­keters who are not mon­i­tor­ing key brand men­tions could be miss­ing early-warning indi­ca­tors com­ing directly from their consumers.

Social buzz can also pro­vide insight into the com­pe­ti­tion by enabling mar­keters to track the prod­ucts, ser­vices, and fans of com­peti­tors just as eas­ily as their own brands. Savvy mar­keters are using this tech­nique to pounce on com­pet­i­tive weak­nesses and steer con­sumers away from com­pet­i­tive strengths to achieve a com­pet­i­tive advantage.

Mar­ket­ing data is now the crit­i­cal lifeblood of infor­ma­tion that CMOs bring to an exec­u­tive man­age­ment team. As a mar­keter, if you’re not tak­ing advan­tage of every bit of data, then make it your New Year’s res­o­lu­tion to use social lis­ten­ing as the next weapon in your arsenal.