Ukip has overtaken Labour to become the second most popular political party on Facebook and acts in the same way as a brand to generate the greatest levels of engagement, according to figures released to The Drum by social analytics firm BirdSong.
In April, Conservative (169.268 fans), Labour (164,971 fans) Lib Dems (93,889 fans) and Ukip (92,5696 fans) made up the top four. However, this has dramatically changed for one party over the past month, with Ukip gathering over 80,000 fans during the period. It is now the second most liked political party, with over 172,000 fans, taking over from Labour (171,598 fans).
Overall, Ukip has seen the largest fan growth of any major political party in the past month. Between 29 April 2014 and 26 May, fans of the Ukip Facebook page increased 85 per cent. In comparison the Liberal Democrats fan base which grew 1.85 per cent, Labour 3.95 per cent and Conservatives 7.82 per cent.
The analysis of how the election played out on Facebook came in wake of the results today, which at the time of writing (before Northern Ireland had declared) saw Ukip gain 23 MEP seats, while the Tories and Labour took 18 each. The Liberal Democrats lost 10 MEPs leaving them with just one.
BirdSong found that ultimately, Ukip was the most engaging party on Facebook. With almost 84 per cent engagement rate, Ukip saw an average 571 likes per post, 88 comments and 93 shares. Labour, by comparison, who have the same sized fan base see 277 likes per post, 97 comments and 138 shares.
BirdSong suggested that Ukip are failing to get any Shares or Comments due to the stigma associated with the party.
“The most popular posts, based on likes, all focus on generating more likes,” explained Jamie Riddell, CEO of BirdSong. “They are also actively using calls to action (like a brand) that other parties are not, [for example] ‘Like if you voted today’ which will help stimulate likes.”
In terms of content, BirdSong found that Ukip’s most popular updates are 'party propaganda' with little focus on policy details.