Does digital data offer indicators that can be used to monitor marketing effectiveness and predict box office success even before awareness turns into intent? We analyzed this weekend's new movies across Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Google (the methodology behind the numbers is below) over the seven days leading up to their release, when marketing campaigns should be at their peak.

"Divergent"


While you could point to Summit and Lionsgate's success with "Twilight" and "The Hunger Games" as the proof that adapting a young adult book series is a guarantee of a big return, the box office gauntlet lays strewn with the corpses of those pretenders to the crown of the next big thing. Those two cultural phenomena are however absolute exceptions to the norm, which come along once in a blue moon, setting the bar incredibly high. In the last year at least half a dozen attempts have been made to replicate the "Hunger Games" model without success; but socially, "Divergent" is faring better than all of them.

"Divergent" has been bullish with its investment in a strong Facebook presence: "Divergent" was one of the first test partners for Facebook's new premium video ads, where a short video begins to play automatically and will play with sound if the user taps on it -- perfect for movie marketing. The strength of the series' fan base is also shown by the high fan count for a movie without a predecessor and strong PTAT -- last year only "Catching Fire" debuted with over 1 million fans thanks to the fan base established by the original "Hunger Games" and all the first installment of other YA releases coming in well below that mark.

The popularity of the title among young females is demonstrated by the 179,000 Twitter followers in addition to the 156,000 on Instagram, a platform most popular among women and younger users. According to Summit, "Divergent" has gathered the largest ever pre-release Instagram following for a movie. "Divergent" also lead a takeover of the Yahoo! Movies Instagram for an entire week (Miss Piggy is currently in charge of this account for the weekend's other big release, Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted"). In order to appeal to this audience "Divergent" also has a large Tumblr presence with the official site being hosted on the network, which is primarily used by young females.

The passion of "Divergent" fans is demonstrated by them making #cookiecake trend for leading man Ansel Elgort's birthday, but at 207,000 they aren't generating significantly more tweets than other YA franchises: both "Percy Jackson Sea of Monsters" and "Mortal Instruments" managed 160,000.

However "Divergent's" 34 million video views (including trailers, cast interviews, teasers and featurettes) with a very strong 0.57% Buzz are well ahead of other YA offerings which all failed to break 20 million. Summit's last YA title, "Ender's Game," had 19 million. While "Catching Fire" had the best buzz at a very strong 0.60%, other YA franchises have also hit home with their trailers: "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters" had 0.59% Buzz, followed by "Mortal Instruments" (0.54%) and "Vampire Academy" (0.52%). The total however does not include the views from the Facebook ads or clips shared on MTV.com, or coming from the exclusive trailer drop made on Buzzfeed, which was viewed almost 400,000 times. This was particularly interesting as Buzzfeed has greater resonance with "Divergent's'" core younger demographic than the more traditional platforms such as iTunes trailers or Yahoo! Movies, which appeal to a broader and older audience.

"Divergent's'" strong engagement across platforms shows that it has a large and engaged core audience. It's search volume of 167,000 is good, but signals that it won't reach "Hunger Games" heights -- the original film had a search volume over 500,000. This volume is more on a par with the 155,000 achieved by "The Vow," which targeted a similar young female audience, and opened to $40 million in 2012, suggesting "Divergent" will be looking at a higher first weekend total.

While younger women will certainly turn out in force, the question for "Divergent" will be whether it has generated enough interest outside that core audience. Looking at the volume of activity generated on YouTube, Twitter and search suggests that while "Divergent" is a much stronger contender than previous YA adaptations, it hasn't managed to break out broadly and create the universal appeal of "Hunger Games," so Tris won't be replacing Katniss in our hearts just yet.

Final Expectations: Social stats have "Divergent" winning the weekend, but don't suggest there is wide enough appeal to shoot it into "The Hunger Games" stratosphere.

"Muppets Most Wanted"

The Muppets' return to the big screen after a three-year break since the well-received "The Muppets" movie are expected to be welcomed by moviegoers. Their enduring popularity is demonstrated by a Facebook presence of 6.5 million strong and 197,000 Twitter followers, but the real beauty of the campaign has been in viral marketing.

Through Disney, the Muppets have released several TV spots that riff on current affairs, pop culture and online trends such as fans' often nonsensical and misspelled tweets and the increasing tendency of marketers to leverage positive Twitter reactions, which has become a ubiquitous part of movie marketing (CBS ran a full page ad in the New York Times featuring nothing but a critic's shortened-Tweet). These videos not only went out as TV spots, but generated millions of views on YouTube, uniting the digital and offline strategies. The inclusion of tweets in TV ads shows how digital has now firmly entered the mainstream, but is also indicative of the shifting balance between old and new media, as more of people's time and attention -- and therefore advertising dollars -- are spent online.