Using social media to analyse political opinions is becoming increasingly common-practice. Perhaps one of the most interesting facets of this development is the possibility of ‘pulsing’ the public’s opinion in real-time and understanding general swings in public opinion as well as overall trends.
With only a few days to go to the Spring Hunting referendum in Malta, we thought we would resort to what we know best and utilise the power of social media to uncover insights and to analyse general public opinion about the two camps – Iva vs Le.
Through Socionomix Analytics we compared data from the SHout and Iva Facebook Pages over the period March-April 2015. Whilst we do understand that there is a significant difference in the demographics between likely voters and users of online social networks, and we are by no means trying to predict the referendum outcome, we did manage to draw out some interesting insights that we would like to share with you all.
We have included a short summary of the key findings below, however we do encourage you to see for yourself and access into the tool for many more insights. All the details are included below:
Although both pages have a significant number of Likes (around the 10,000 mark), at the time of writing, the SHout Facebook Page had managed to garner 16% more Likes than the Iva Facebook Page. This might not be an advantage that lasts for long, however. Analysing the changes in likes since the end of March, there is clearly an upward trend in Facebook users liking the Iva page – whereby in some days the Iva page managed to obtain over 300 new likes per day (as opposed to the SHout page with an average gain of less than 50 likes per day). Additionally for the same period of time, significantly many more people (6,698 Facebook users) were in some way or another, talking about the Iva page than the SHout Page (2,943 Facebook users).
Both pages boast an impressive average in terms of the number of people who share the respective page’s content to their friends and relatives on Facebook. On average, a post on the Iva page is shared 58 times, whereas a post on the SHout page is shared 17 times.
A possible reason for this difference could be due to the type of content that the two movements utilise to interact with their Facebook audience. Indeed, IVA utilise a higher percentage (55%) of photos than SHout (42%) – SHout seem to focus more on posting links to relevant articles as well as videos.
We wanted to delve deeper into this and looked at the content that to-date, proved to be the most popular, in terms of Likes received. Iva’s top 5 posts relate to photos showing family events, testimonials and other slogans about being respectful to everyone’s hobby and achieving a healthy balance.
SHout’s top posts on the other hand relate to the launch of the campaign song and to other photos showing the effects of hunting, using the slogan ‘Dead Birds Can’t Breed’.
One factor that was common to both pages related to peak activity times. Both pages in fact saw a significant increase in activity during the weekend, with Iva activity peaking on a Friday and SHout on a Sunday.
It is clear that through the content posted, both pages aim to increase engagement and interaction through their Facebook Page. We analysed the number of unique people who have engaged in some way or another with the page, either through a comment or a post – Iva is again showing a clear lead.
Whilst it may be relatively easy to conclude that the Iva page has a higher engagement rate due to a higher number of comments and posts by followers, this does not necessarily mean that the comments or posts are in agreement with the Iva propaganda. Indeed, we came across many cases where significant discussion was generated by someone posting their disagreement and publicly declaring that they are voting against spring hunting.
Whatever the outcome of the spring hunting referendum next Saturday, we do hope that you’ve found the insights shared to be interesting and thought-provoking.
If you would like to learn more about Socionomix, we encourage you to visit our website www.socionomix.net and if you have any questions or feedback about the insights provided, feel free to get in touch.