The Facebook engagement data helping Macron become the next president

Some data I collected to test

After a really tight 1st round with a 2.71% advantage for Macron over Le Pen, the 2nd turn seems to be on track for the center candidate to take the win, but how is that lead being translated to Facebook post engagement ? is he really passing his message through better than the opponent?

A look at the first round

After my last post taking a look at the first round from Facebook engagement data, it became clear that Macron was less engaging than Fillon and Mélenchon due to his more moderated message but still a lot closer to it’s followers than Le Pen with engagement rates on average 30% higher in the last days of the first round.

By refreshing last month’s data and adding posts from the last week of April, we can see that Le Pen got closer to Macron but just not enough. Up to the day of the 1st round, the candidate from the National Front was down 32% on post engagement. A gap that since then only continues to increase.

2nd round: an effort from both candidates

It’s normal that at this point the audiences of both candidates grow as the efforts to pass the message get more aggressive and this is reflected in the amount of page fans. At the day of this post, Le Pen has over 1.5M fans (+15.6% from 1st round day) and Macron 540k (+80.7% from 1st round day)

In the graph above we can see the page fans evolution from both pages since the day of the 1st round election. Notice the spike on the 5th of May? It’s the effect of a very powerful Barack Obama video endorsement. Today Macron is reaching more people than Le Pen on the 24/04 with 1M less page fans.

In terms of Post Engagement, the gap between the two candidates only tends to increase:

If from March to April the difference in engagement rate was 32% with advantage to Macron, so far in May the difference has accentuated to 58%. This gap is in part explained by the extraordinary performance of the Barack Obama video published on the 4th of May that achieved an amazing 67% of engagement rate, the overall best post of the whole campaign, throughout all the candidates. Without this post alone, the difference between the two would be 39.1%.

This post really seems to have influenced the engagement rate of Macron’s Facebook page in May and shows just how important endorsements are: 7M views go a long way, in this case almost 10% of the French population.

A few notes on Post performance for the whole campaign, all candidates

  • Post with more comments (30.578): Link
  • Post with more shares (109.111) and likes (160.053): Link
  • Post with most “angry” (6552): Link

Wrapping it up

If it’s still not possible to get a really good feeling of the outcomes of such a complex event like an election from Facebook data, the final results are already being influenced by what is shared and the Barack Obama video is a great example of that.

If we are able to keep the noise and fake news aside and concentrate on the message that is being passed through, than Facebook will continue to play a central role in the way we share and interact with our political representatives. This time around, with no surprises on the outcomes as Macron will more than likely take the victory.

Methodology

Report was built with public available data from the Facebook API.

Engagement Rate: (Likes + Comments + Shares) / Page Fans at the date of the post. Because Facebook doesn’t provide the Page Fans retroactively, the number is a rough calculation based on the trend of the last few weeks