Iva vs Le – What does Facebook data say?

With only a few days to go to the Spring Hunting referendum in Malta, social media data was utilised to uncover insights and to analyse general public opinion about the two camps – Iva vs Le.

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, social media data was utilised to uncover insights and to analyse general public opinion about the two camps – Iva vs Le.

Through Socionomix Analytics, a social media analytics tool developed by iMovo, data from the SHout [https://www.facebook.com/SpringHuntingOut] and Iva [https://www.facebook.com/ivvotaiva] Facebook Pages was analysed and compared over the period March-April 2015.

Whilst it is understood that there is a significant difference in the demographics between likely voters and users of online social networks and it is difficult to predict the referendum outcome, some interesting insights were drawn and are shared within this article.

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.

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.

Delving deeper into the content utilised and analysing most popular content to-date, it was found that 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. The number of unique people who have engaged in some way or another with the page - either through a comment or a post – was also analysed and Iva again showed 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, many cases were identified 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, one thing is certain - the insights obtained through Facebook are certainly interesting and thought provoking.

If you would like to learn more about Socionomix, we encourage you to visit www.socionomix.net.