The power of the “like” button: The impact of social media on box office

Chao Ding, Hsing Kenneth Cheng, Yang Duan, Yong Jin

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

81 Citations (Scopus)


� 2016 Elsevier B.V. The mainstream research of social factors and box office performance has concentrated on post-consumption opinion mining and sentiment analysis, which are difficult to operationalize to the benefits of the industry practitioners whose objective is to maximize box office sales. In this study, we propose the Facebook “like” as an effective social marketing tool before the release of movies for several reasons. Firstly, people's prerelease “liking” of movies can be influenced by marketing campaigns. Secondly, the clicks of “likes” create social impact, as suggested by the Social Impact Theory, on moviegoers' consumption behaviors. And thirdly, Facebook “like” provides practitioners with real-time visible updates. By studying the impact of prerelease “likes” on box office sales, we not only contribute to the literature by offering a new social metric to evaluate the box office performance, but also provide the industry practitioners with quantitative support for the effectiveness of their social marketing activities. Our empirical results indicate that the prerelease “likes” exert a significantly positive impact on box office performance. More specifically, 1% increase in the number of “likes” in the one week prior to release is associated with an increase of the opening week box office by about 0.2%. As it approaches the release date, the prerelease “like” impact becomes stronger, suggesting that the latest prerelease “likes” are more effective in driving box office performance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-84
Number of pages8
JournalDecision Support Systems
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Box office
  • Facebook “like”
  • Social impact
  • Social marketing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Information Systems and Management


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