While Bill English comfortablely defeated Jacinda Ardern on Facebook this election, it was a much closer contest between National and Labour. All of the early momentum was with Labour, and National only managed to turn the tide of interactions with content by the sixth week of the campaign, whereas Bill English had already managed that three weeks earlier. Once National did gain the lead though, they echoed Bill English's success in significantly outperforming their rival over those final two weeks while advance voting was open.
Off the back of Jacinda Ardern's boost to Labour's fortunes, Labour took just three weeks to overhaul National's page like lead on Facebook, a lead it had held and grew since 21 September 2014.
TOP advertised heavily (remember that campaign about Gareth Morgan saying he'd rather donate $1 million to charity rather than running political ads?) and more than doubled their opening numbers, while National progressed along comfortably.
ACT, surprisingly, did well relative to their size, a trend that was matched by David Seymour in the party leader statistics too.
As you can see, both National and Labour were pretty even across the entire campaign. A similar number of posts, with similar numbers of interactions on their posts. National beat Labour with reactions and comments, but Labour had more shares. TOP, again likely boosted by a big online advertising spend, did well here, so it'll be interesting to see how that comes out in the wash when all the parties have to declare their election expenses.
I should also point out that the reason why I included the Māori Party in these statistics, but not its leaders, was purely out of budgetary considerations on my part. I just can't afford the extra cost to monitor more accounts on the tool I'm using (quintly.com) just yet.
When you look at how the campaign played out week-by-week, you can see just how dominant Labour's advantage was in those early weeks. You could almost make a claim that taken along with the data from yesterday that this does somewhat mimic the general drop then rise of National (and vice-versa for Labour) over that time, but I think that's probably pushing things a little.
There's no doubt that a good social media strategy makes communicating your campaign messaging that much easier (and conversely a bad social media strategy will cost you), but there are so many other things that impact on campaigns that social media is just one influence to account for.
What is interesting though is the strong push by National over those final three weeks, especially the final two when advance voting opened. Comparing both Bill English and National vs Jacinda Ardern and Labour, Bill and National posted 46% more content over those two weeks than Jacinda and Labour. What's more, Bill and National received 82% more interactions on their content than Jacinda and Labour did.
As I mentioned yesterday, National's most popular video (and I suspect most popular post) was "Bill's story" which netted 935,000 video views. Labour's most popular video surprisingly didn't feature Jacinda Ardern, but rather Sir Michael Cullen promoting Labour's fiscal plan that received 448,000 views. The Opportunities Party also did well with 428,000 people watching "The Great Kiwi Tax Break".