From Boris Johnson to Brexit: What can social media ad spend tell us in the lead up to December’s general election?

Nov 8th, 2019

It’s now been more than three years since the people of the UK headed to the polls to decide whether or not the country would remain or leave the European Union. With 51.9% of voters opting to leave the EU, it was down to the Government to secure a positive trade deal and leave the European Union as smoothly as possible

After the results of the referendum were decided, it was down to Theresa May to secure a deal before the agreed deadline in which the UK would leave the EU. Since then numerous dates have passed and, even with a new Prime Minister in charge, many of the population have been left frustrated and bewildered as to why there’s still no clear date on when the UK will leave the EU or if a deal will be agreed.

To some of the UK’s dismay and others happiness, it was announced that once again, the people of the UK will head to the polls on 12th December and vote in a General Election. 

With five weeks to go until the vote, the main party leaders Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, Jo Swinson and Nigel Farage will now take to the roads to deliver their election campaigns across the country. With the war of words between the political parties well underway, the leaders now have the power of social media to propel their manifestos.

The power of social media in politics

There’s no doubt that social media is a powerful tool; whether it’s for business, personal use, or politics.

Platforms like Twitter and Facebook haven’t always been used by political parties; however, it’s now the perfect tool to grow a wider following, especially within the younger generation. Whether it’s through paid or organic social, a number of parties are targeting ads at social media users to try and secure them popularity before the election.

Although social media can provide a positive element for political parties, it can also leave them exposed to negative comments and backlash which can affect their profile.

With this in mind, we thought it would be interesting to see the conversation surrounding each of the four main parties and the volume of social ads they’re posting. Although the election is still over a month away, we’ve been able to uncover some intriguing social stats which may give us an indication as to who will be inside Downing Street after the results have been announced.

The Conservative Party

From the research we’ve conducted, the Conservative Party is at the lower end of the scale for the amount they have spent on paid ads. As of today (13/11/19), the party has spent a total of £60,161 over seven days, which has seen strong engagement from both a male and female audience. However, when you look at the overall organic stats, it’s actually dominated by a male audience at 67%.

total spend over 7 days

When it comes to organic social, the Conservatives top the leaderboard for the amount of mentions generated, with an impressive 592k; but is this necessarily a good thing?

After looking at the sentiment as a whole, the Conservative Party are gaining more negative feedback in social conversations with 48%, compared to positive feedback at 23%. With the party gaining negative backlash over recent days for various reasons, it’s easy to understand why the percentage gap is this wide.

We’ve also been able to have a detailed look at the social conversation the party has been talking about themselves and although the term “vote” is the highest at 15%, Labour is closely followed with 12%.

The Labour Party

Compared to the Conservatives, the Labour Party seem to have utilised social media a considerable amount more when it comes to delivering their manifesto. 

Over the past seven days a total of £44,811 has been spent on social ads, with the latest engagement coming from female members of the population. 

When it comes to organic social though, the stats suggest that 69% of the 459k mentions for Labour are coming from men, which is a high percentage. One thing the Labour Party will be glad to hear is the social conversation surrounding them is currently looking more positive than that of the Conservative Party.

google outsells alexa

Currently 42% of the conversation is negative, whereas 23% is positive compared to the Conservatives 20%. Although this puts them above their rivals in some perspectives, the Labour Party will definitely want to improve on this before the election.

The Liberal Democrats

The Lib Dems may be the outsiders but with their main objective being to stop Brexit, they’ll definitely appeal to members of the population who want to put a stop to this political saga.

Looking at the stats, it appears that the Lib Dems are throwing everything they possibly can at their campaign. £35,388 has been spent on paid social ads over the past week, with a female dominated audience.

Although the amount of mentions for the Lib Dems are fairly low at 131k, you may be surprised to hear the positive conversation surrounding them is higher than both the Conservatives and the Labour Party, at 27%. 

There has been some bad press involving the Lib Dems which has been uncovered and this potentially plays a part in the 38% of negative conversation surrounding them.

google outsells alexa

Looking at the conversation the Lib Dems are projecting, we can see that Labour is a strong talking point for them at 18%, with Tory and Brexit both next in line at 8%.

The Brexit Party

Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party are fairly new to the campaign race and his strong Brexit opinions have both won and lost him and his party some support.

With the party being fairly small and not standing much chance of finishing near the top of the table come voting day, only 78k mentions have been made today, which is considerably less compared to the other three parties.

google outsells alexa

Although less conversation is surrounding the Brexit Party on social media, 37% of what is being said is currently deemed negative, with a respectable 27% being positive. It would appear that the party is gaining attraction mainly from male members of the population, with a high percentage of 71%.

One interesting stat we discovered surrounding the conversation made by the Brexit Party themselves, is unlike other parties, not much is being said about their rivals. “Vote” is the highest term at 17%, with the Brexit Party in second at 9%.

What are the key social findings to date?

After analysing the data we’ve discovered, there are a few key findings which gives an idea of how each party is performing and what they’re next move on social may be.

When it comes to the gender of each of the parties audience, it would appear that Labour and the Lib Dems are starting to target a female audience; however, the majority of conversation surrounding them is coming from a male dominated following.

Looking at the mentions leaderboard it’s the Conservatives who are leading the way with 592k. Although this may appeal to the Party, it’s actually Labour who are reaching more people on a  daily basis with 493M impressions, compared to the Conservatives 366M.

google outsells alexa

One thing’s for sure, whether it’s negative or positive, there’s a lot of political conversation being created on social media. With over a month to go until the election, it’s more than likely these stats will fluctuate on a daily basis and let’s not forget the amount of conversation happening in the tabloids and on news channels. 

It’s a subject which has interested us and we’re intrigued to see how these stats change as we get closer to election day: so watch this space.

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