What can search predict? : Applied Statistics
And here’s their story:
We [Goel et al.] investigate the degree to which search behavior predicts the commercial success of cultural products, namely movies, video games, and songs. In contrast with previous work that has focused on realtime reporting of current trends, we emphasize that here our objective is to predict future activity, typically days to weeks in advance. Specifically, we use query volume to forecast opening weekend box-office revenue for feature films, first month sales of video games, and the rank of songs on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In all cases that we consider, we find that search counts are indicative of future outcomes, but when compared with baseline models trained on publicly available data, the performance boost associated with search counts is generally modest—a pattern that, as we show, also applies to previous work on tracking flu trends.
We [Goel et al.] conclude that in the absence of other data sources, or where small improvements in predictive performance are material, search queries may provide a useful guide to the near future.
from What Can Search Predict? by Sharad Goel, Jake M. Hofman, Sébastien Lahaie, David M. Pennock, Duncan J. Watts (via)