A new study has been released that shows just how much a tweet about a movie impacts the box-office results for that movie, according to Variety.
According to the study, the value of a Tweet on box-office is highest about a month out from release, around the same time serious advertising kicks in though obviously well after the release of the first trailer and other assets. The closer to the actual release date, the less it’s worth since, presumably, people are making longer-term decisions about what movies to see. And the farther out from release, the less other press there’s been about the movie, press which isn’t always positive.
There are other factors – the sentiment of the Tweet obviously matters, as does a statement of intent or call to action, and things will vary from genre to genre. And there’s a common sense conclusion in the story about how the buzz that’s happening in the sweet spot identified here can help studios project box-office a bit.
Also of note in the story is the admission that each Tweet isn’t just a thing in and of itself. The people doing the research also gave it a value beyond the one person since it’s assumed, that opinion is shared by X number of people who haven’t spoken up themselves. What that multiplier might be isn’t stated outright, unfortunately.
As always with stories like this, though, the thing that comes to mind is that the focus is too firm on Twitter or other social platforms. So what’s labeled here as “Twitter buzz” or something similar is actually word-of-mouth. It’s people recommending a movie (or whatever else we might be discussing) to the people they know and who know them. And as study after study points out, people put a lot of value on what the people they know have to say and what they value.
That’s true of just about everything and is incredibly important to remember whenever discussing social media. Twitter, Facebook and other networks are just tools that facilitate the spread of word-of-mouth, which is often peer-to-peer in nature. They change the scale at which that happens, absolutely. But they usually don’t change the fundamental nature of the recommendations that are happening.
So when we talk about “how much is a Tweet worth” in regards to movie box-office, computer sales or anything else, keep in mind that this is all about word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth that’s scaled, sure, but it’s still just that.