Predicting Sales by Following the Tweets, New Research from McCombs

Can you use Twitter to predict your sales? New research from UT Austin says yes.

Fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal by three researchers at the McCombs School who claim they have developed a new tool that can help companies predict sales, or decide whether to increase inventories or put items on sale, all by following Twitter’s keywords.

To test their model, they conducted a study in which they used Twitter to predict box-office receipts for three different movies that came out on the same day: “Land of the Lost,” “My Life in Ruins” and “The Hangover.”

Can anyone use their technique? Well, they used about 20 servers to collect the data, so this likely requires a bit of sophistication to execute.

Huaxia Rui is a doctoral candidate, and Elizabeth Winker is a research associate for the Center for Research in Electronic Commerce at The University of Texas at Austin. Their faculty mentor is none other than Dr. Andrew Whinston (photo) who is the director of the center as well as a fascinating and brilliant expert on computer science, economics and information systems. Video of a Whinston lecture is here.

WSJ article here.

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