Trailers Aren't Most-Shared Movie Content: Study

Elsa Frozen - H 2014
Courtesy of The Walt Disney Company

Elsa Frozen - H 2014

But promos still prompt almost a third of those who watch them to buy a ticket to the movie

Despite all the hubbub when a new trailer debuts online, those teasers aren't the most-shared movie videos, a new study reveals.

Instead, prank-based viral videos or "prankverts," stand-alone micro-movies and music videos are the most-shared types of movie content over the past 12 months, according to a new white paper by social video advertising platform Unruly.

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“Consumers are also experiencing ‘content shock’. The smart advertisers are creating memorable content by generating intense emotional responses in viewers and breaking away from traditional trailers," Unruly's U.S. president Richard Kosinski said in a statement. "The top three most-shared videos of the past 12 months are prankverts or, in the case of Frozen, a trackvert [or a video based around a song, like Frozen's ubiquitous "Let It Go"]."

The white paper adds of non-trailer movie content: "Films that go beyond the trailer are generating cut-through and social buzz in a competitive, trailer-heavy media landscape."

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Unruly analyzed the most-shared movie promos from September 2013 to September 2014, also finding that 31 percent of those who watched a movie promo would purchase a ticket to see the film (with 28 percent planning to rent the movie and 12 percent planning to buy it) and that those who share movie-related content are almost six times more likely to purchase a ticket than those who don't.

Unruly also broke down which movie-related content from the six major studios was the most-viewed and most-shared over the 12 months ending in September. The following were the top performers both in terms of views and shares for the studios during that period, according to Unruly's data: Disney's Frozen "Let It Go" sequence performed by Idina Menzel, which had 324.7 million views and 3.4 million social reactions; Ed Sheeran's "I See Fire" music video for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, with 34 million views and 1.5 million social reactions; Sony's Carrie prank "Telekenetic Coffee Shop Surprise," with 58.7 million views and 2.3 million social reactions; Fox's similar viral video "Devil Baby Attack," with 47 million views and 2.1 million social reactions; Universal's "Tribute to Paul Walker," with nearly 39 million views and 2 million social reactions; and Paramount's Transformers: Age of Extinction teaser trailer, with 19.6 million views and 806,278 social reactions.

Unruly also found that the six major movie studios generated 3.4 billion views of promotional content in the last 12 months.

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To see more data about these clips and which other videos were the most-viewed and most-shared over the past year, as well as a case-by-case analysis of all of the studio movies released over the summer, check out the full report.

Unruly's report analyzed social data using Unruly's Viral Video Chart, which ranks videos by shares using data on more than 521 billion video views tracked since 2006; Unruly Analytics, which tracks social reactions across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and the blogosphere for 3,100 brands; and Unruly ShareRank, an algorithmic tool containing more than 100 sharing variables and 150,000 panel-based consumer data points to predict and optimize video share ability.

Unruly pulled the social data for all of the movie promo videos (including trailers, ads and music videos) posted to the YouTube channels of Fox, Disney, Paramount, Sony, Universal and Warner Bros. between Sept. 8, 2013, and Sept. 7, 2014.