Researchers have analyzed social media measures from the well-known microblogging Twitter and movie box-office data from "boxofficemojo to check how word of mouth affects marketing.
Chong Oh, Assistant Professor of Computer Information Systems at Eastern Michigan University, in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA, found that not only does activity on Twitter, which is a surrogate for, or the online equivalent of actual word-of-mouth chatter, has a direct positive effect on how many people go to see a particular movie.
He also demonstrated on the basis of this analysis that studio-generated content and online engagement with the putative audience has an indirect effect.
According to the research, the more a movie studio is willing to engage with its followers via social media the more likely it is to have a higher WOM volume. This subsequently increases the likelihood of having a higher opening-weekend box office performance.
Oh said that the key activity of sending outgoing tweets in the seven days leading up to the release weekend was a good indicator that correlated to word-of-mouth volume buzz about the movie, as social media represent an opportunity to reach an audience and establish relationships at a personal level that traditional advertising is not capable of achieving.
The study was published in the International Journal of Information Systems and Change Management.