Predicting self‐declared movie watching behavior using Facebook data and information‐fusion sensitivity analysis

Matthias Bogaert, Michel Ballings, Justine Lootens, Dirk Van den Poel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The main purpose of this paper is to evaluate the feasibility of predicting whether yes or no a Facebook user has self‐reported to have watched a given movie genre. Therefore, we apply a data analytical framework that (1) builds and evaluates several predictive models explaining self‐declared movie watching behavior, and (2) provides insight into the importance of the predictors and their relationship with self‐reported movie watching behavior. For the first outcome, we benchmark several algorithms (logistic regression, random forest, adaptive boosting, rotation forest, and naive Bayes) and evaluate their performance using the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve. For the second outcome, we evaluate variable importance and build partial dependence plots using information‐fusion sensitivity analysis for different movie genres. To gather the data, we developed a custom native Facebook app. We resampled our dataset to make it representative of the general Facebook population with respect to age and gender. The results indicate that adaptive boosting outperforms all other algorithms. Time‐ and frequency‐based variables related to media (movies, videos, and music) consumption constitute the list of top variables. To the best of our knowledge, this study is the first to fit predictive models of self‐reported movie watching behavior and provide insights into the relationships that govern these models. Our models can be used as a decision tool for movie producers to target potential movie‐watchers and market their movies more efficiently.
Original languageEnglish
JournalDecision Sciences
Early online date23 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jul 2019


  • Facebook
  • information‐fusion
  • machine learning
  • movies
  • predictive models
  • social media

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