Which party has the most followers on social media? How much are the parties spending on Facebook and Google advertising to get their messages across? Does social media follower numbers and advertising spending match poll performance?

Politicians have until October 17 to turn likes, shares, retweets and social media followers into a tick in the voting booth on election day.

Newsroom will be following the election campaign and taking a weekly look at how parties and politicians are using and performing on social media platforms.

Next week’s charts will cover the week after August 16, when broadcast advertising is allowed within budgets set by the Electoral Commission. It’s still unclear if extending the campaigning period to take into account the new election date of October 17 will mean more money is made available.

Data supplied by Aro Digital, except where otherwise specified.

Leading in the polls and in social media follower numbers is the Labour Party, with just shy of 400,000 followers of their Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. It’s likely this number won’t represent 400,000 different people as the same person may follow them on more than one social media platform, but the party has almost double the amount of follows of the second-ranked Green Party. 

ACT had a surge in follower numbers last week across all three social media channels. Its Instagram followers jumped eight percent to 1943, Facebook followers increased 3.5 percent to 17,018 and Twitter followers up 1.2 percent to 4140. 

What party is spending the most on Facebook and Google advertising?

From July 14 to August 16 the National Party spent $46,030 on Facebook advertising running 79 different ads. In contrast, the Labour Party spent just $5255. New Zealand First spent $8043. ACT spent $27,369 over a whopping 774 advertisements.

What politicians have the most followers?

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is a winner in the popularity stakes with almost two million follows. It’s likely some of this audience is people outside of New Zealand but second-placed Winston Peters is a long way behind.

National leader Judith Collins, currently in fourth place, had the biggest percentage growth of followers in the past week, up 3.85 percent on the previous week.

*The number of Twitter followers David Seymour has is not correctly captured in this week’s graphs. Currently he has over 13,000 followers on Twitter, which would bring his total followings to around 49,000 placing him between Grant Robertson and James Shaw for a total number of followers. Correct numbers will be shown in next week’s charts.

Do the most recent polls reflect social media statistics?

Labour and Jacinda Ardern’s social media popularity lines up with the most recent polls but beyond that the numbers differ. The sizeable social media following and ad spend of the Green Party isn’t reflected in the polls. 

Aro Digital is a Wellington-based digital marketing agency that provides data-driven solutions and results. In the lead up to the 2020 Election, Aro Digital launched its Election Insights & Digital Transparency Report, in an effort to give all Kiwis information about how social media is being utilised in politics. 

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