The search giant just released a whitepaper that makes a case for studios to buy ads on Google, noting that it has become a central resource for moviegoers when they decide what to see generating data that can predict sales. About 61% of ticket buyers consult online resources — averaging about 13 sources — ahead of time. And searches for movie info including trailers jumped 56% from 2011 to 2012, even though the number of releases fell by 9%. “Since 48% of moviegoers decide what film to watch the day they purchase their ticket, it’s important to have a continued search presence through opening weekend and beyond,” Google says. People typically search for tentpole movies such as The Hunger Games or The Dark Knight by name, but in slower periods use generic keywords to find out what’s playing. “By adjusting search marketing strategies to these trends, marketers can either capture the attention of the ‘curious’ moviegoer, or deepen audience engagement with a blockbuster title,” Google says. Studios also can make last minute adjustments: An analysis of 99 films released last year found that search traffic in the week before they opened proved to be “a strong indicator” of the weekend sales. For example, a film with 250,000 more search queries than a rival release usually generates $4.3M more at the box office; one with 20,000 additional paid clicks should have a $7.5M advantage. In addition, search data for trailers on Google and YouTube can help marketers judge likely results as much as a month before a film opens.