Last year movie companies made more money in November than any other month. As we enter this make-or-break season, recent findings from Adobe Digital Index demonstrate the impact social is having on movie ticket sales.

Social buzz on movies clearly indicates which will win and which will lose at the box office. More than 20 days prior to release, profitable movies show above average social buzz. That trend continues all the way through the release date, ramping up dramatically at three weeks prior. Also, social reaction to profitable movies is 20% more positive than non-profitable movies.

Social buzz summer

Looking back at this summer, social buzz leading up to release would have accurately predicted that Fast and the Furious 6, which posted over 400,000 mentions, would be profitable. Post release traffic analysis immediately following the release of The Conjuring would have demonstrated its profit potential with a daily average of more than 200,000 mentions post-release. Initial projections undervalued these movies, but social buzz tracking could have been used by movie marketers to bulk up advertising and push the movies to even greater profitability.

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Anchorman 2 show most promise to be the surprise hits of the season

Tracking upcoming holiday releases, social buzz across blogs, Facebook, Google+, YouTube and other sites for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and Thor 2: The Dark World is well above average, and in some cases these films are several weeks from release. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, for example, is averaging nearly 2 million monthly mentions from August through now. With social buzz tied to profitability, you can expect all of these movies to generate revenue above the cost and to stand out among the potential blockbusters.

But, more interesting perhaps is which of the underdogs will surprise us. Social media buzz data indicates that Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues will be surprise hits this holiday movie season. The growth of social buzz for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit is nearly identical with the social buzz of past profitable movies and well above average. The number of social mentions for Enders Game and The Delivery Man on the other hand suggests that they will be less profitable, if at all.

Smartphones lead the way for ticket sales this holiday movie season, up 200% year-over-year

Recent improvements to online ticket company apps and mobile enhanced websites suggests that a record number of those moviegoers will buy their tickets from their smartphone. 20.8% of online ticket sales revenue is coming from mobile devices (up 82% year-over-year (YoY) and 43.6% of all visits to these sites are from mobile devices — with 34.9% coming from smartphones. The trend shows that within the next year, mobile devices will provide the majority of visits to online ticket sales sites.


The Adobe Digital Index analyzed more than 1 billion visits to 12 online ticket sales sites. We found that the increasingly engaged mobile consumer is creating more revenue for movies as more smartphone visitors complete a ticket purchase. Revenue-per-visit for online ticket sales is up 15% YoY.

Online ticket sales rpv

Future growth will be fueled by social and mobile

Heading into a popular season for events and entertainment, social and mobile are proving to be focus areas for this industry segment. Marketers will continue to improve mobile apps and mobile-optimized sites to create a quality experience for consumers, and ensure that appetite for purchasing on these devices remains high.

Social media can be a key indicator of the success of a movie. The upcoming Social Intelligence Report from the Adobe Digital Index, which will be released on October 28, shows that the positive results from social media are at an all-time high.  Marketers need to create and closely monitor social buzz to gauge whether efforts should be increased prior to the release date.

The use of social and mobile as elements for a successful marketing campaign will ensure that marketers can stay in line with the current trend and moving forward on creating high-quality, engaging content for consumers.

Follow me on Twitter @joedmarti for further insights into the media and entertainment industry.