All week, we’ve been hearing how Birdman and Boyhood are the favorites to win Best Picture at this year’s Academy Awards. Of the eight nominees, the winner will be selected based on votes from more than 5,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). In an effort to predict who might win, the team at Mavrck decided to analyze each film’s Facebook engagement and see if this proxy for public opinion would match how Academy members felt about the films.
Total Likes & Shares of Trailers on Facebook – Higher is Better
To determine the total amount of likes and shares each film earned, we needed to select a unique identifier to determine if a post was relevant to our analysis. At first, the films’ official hashtags were considered, but it became obvious that the larger film studios purchased several more sponsored Facebook posts containing their film’s hashtag. We then decided to use the URL of each film’s official trailer. To keep the analysis fair, we used the URL for each film’s most viewed YouTube trailer. After this initial analysis, The Grand Budapest Hotel appeared to be the frontrunner, with both Birdman and Boyhood falling in the middle of the pack.
Like to Share Ratio of Trailers on Facebook – Lower is Better
Total engagement doesn’t tell us the whole picture. Sharing someone else’s post on Facebook is stronger symbol of support than simply liking a post, because a share is guaranteed to be displayed to your friends, where a like is not. For the reason, we decided to look at the films’ like to share ratio. A higher ratio means that individuals decided to “like” a trailer more often, and a lower ratio means individuals decided to share a trailer more often. A lower ratio is better, because it shows that the viewer of a trailer was so moved by what they saw, that they felt compelled to share it with their friends. After this analysis, Whiplash appeared to be the movie that compelled viewers to share more than like.
Average Engagement Per Week of Trailers on Facebook – Higher is Better
One element that can’t be ignored is the release date of each film. A film that has had been released for a longer period of time has an opportunity to gain more engagement on Facebook compared to a film that has only been out for a few weeks. Therefore, looking at the average engagement per week since its release date is the best measure of a film’s popularity among viewers. Based on this analysis, American Sniper and The Theory of Everything should be front runners for best picture.