Social media analysis of brand Turnbull versus Shorten

David Hickey ponders election campaign performance from June data looking at Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten, and how their brands and reputations are evolving in the social sphere.

The party leaders have just about reached the finished line, but who is winning the social battle? As scandals, old personalities and controversial policies have come to fruition over the course of the election campaign over the past few months, it is interesting to see how the public responds on social media.

Meltwater listens to and analyses social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, blogs and Instagram coverage. The analysis period was 1 to 30 June 2016.


Volume and share of voice

In the month leading up to the election it was a close call between the amount of social conversation about the two party leaders. Turnbull edged ahead of Shorten with 52% of social media conversations, compared to 48%. Whereas, in May, Turnbull dominated the conversation with 75% of the social media conversations and Bill Shorten achieved 25%.

But while both party leaders are relatively on par in terms of share of voice generated around them as they reach the finish line, this doesn’t necessarily mean their parties have been discussed in equal measure on social media.

turnbull shorten volume

In fact, when it came to share of voice between the parties on social media in June, there has been a greater amount of discussion (58%) around the Liberal Party compared to the Labor Party (42%).

shorten turnbull social

There were some key moments in June, where different parties were the flavour of the day on social media – and these were driven by news stories surrounding party candidates and specific policies and election issues at various points in time.

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Bill Shorten – social media

shorten social themes

Malcolm Turnbull – social media

turnbull social themes

The key issues associated with Bill Shorten on social media were the NBN andMedicare, while for Malcolm Turnbull it was the Panama Papers, tax and the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU).


#auspol – social media

auspol social media themes

In relation to the #auspol hashtag in the last month of the campaign, the most popular items of discussion in order of the volume of posts were CFMEU (10,363 mentions), tax (5,493), QandA (3,380) and Rupert Murdoch (3,138).


Geographical spread

Where social media users have chosen to make their location public, outside of Australia, people in the US generated the most conversations (7,198) about the election using the hashtag #auspol, followed by Great Britain (1,343), Brazil (1,343), Russia (993), Canada (663) and China (608).

In terms of overall social media mentions of the Australian party leaders around the world, the top five countries for Turnbull and Shorten outside of Australia where users display location on social profiles were the US, Great Britain, Russia, Brazil China and New Zealand.


The wrap

Overall, Malcolm Turnbull is pipping Bill Shorten at the post when it comes to gaining more mentions on social media for the month of June, and the Liberal Party has generated more chatter than Labor.

Like any brand, there is an opportunity for political leaders and their parties to delve further into the media intelligence and extract some valuable insights into sentiment around trending topics, that can help shape policies and the way they and their teams deliver messages that resonate with the public.


David Hickey is director of media intelligence company Meltwater for Australia and New Zealand.