Was the Data Right? What the Stats Said About the UK General Election

We researched recent web traffic for the five largest U.K. political parties in connection with England’s May 7th General Election. This included England’s Labour Party, Conservative Party, Green Party, Liberal Democrats, and the UK Independent Party (UKIP).

A number of data sets suggested that the Tories led British voters’ interest, while others could not be relied upon to predict which party would win the election.

You may be surprised to learn who the most searched for politicians were driving traffic to their parties’ websites. Which parties received the largest share of referral traffic from social media? Did the Tories have the lion’s share of mobile and desktop traffic? Make your predictions now, then see the results below.


Most Searched for Politicians

We found that from November 2014 through April 2015, sixty-percent of the Top 10 most searched for candidates by UK voters on their desktops were Conservatives.

Nevertheless, more people searched for Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of the Liberal Democrats than any other politician or candidate in the five parties. Clegg had 50% more search traffic than UK Prime Minister and Conservative leader David Cameron.

Ed Miliband may have been Labour’s most searched-for politician, but he came in a dismal ninth place in political search traffic among competing parties. UKIP’s Scottish independence proponent Alex Salmond was in sixth place. Not a single Green Party candidate made the Top 10 list.

Here are the Top 10 U.K. politicians for whom voter searches generated traffic to their parties’ websites.

UKpoliticians andparties traffic

The Parties’ Online Desktop Traffic Had No Bearing on Election Results

Labour held a narrow lead over the Green Party for desktop website engagement from November 2014 through January 2015, with the Tories in fourth place. Then Labour web traffic surged ahead from February through April 2015.

This shows that the Tories’ lacklustre desktop Web traffic had virtually no impact on their ability to win their election campaign on the ground and at the ballot box where every vote mattered.


Which UK Party Won Voters’ Mobile Traffic?

With mobile web traffic an important factor for every party, Labour clearly did something right to garner traffic on smartphones and tablets. It had nearly 150% more average monthly mobile web traffic than the Tories and Green Party.  No other party came close. The surge in mobile traffic in early February occurred at roughly the same time as Labour’s public tax smackdown of high profile figures like billionaire Stefano Pessina, CEO of pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance.

At the ballot box, however, Conservative voters still carried the election.

Social Media Traffic

In the sixth-month period before the General Elections, Labour had nearly 50% of all social media traffic for the five main UK political Parties. The Tories and UKIP each received 21% of the social media referral traffic, while the Liberal Democrats had just 10%.  The Green Party received almost no social media referrals to its website.



Notably, the Conservatives were the party with the largest number of Facebook friends before the election, helping it spread the word about the party’s platform effectively to the Tories’ supporters and their Facebook friends.

UKIP had slightly fewer Facebook friends than the Tories. Although Labour came in a dismal third for Facebook traffic, it had the largest number of Twitter followers. Conservatives came in second place on Twitter, followed by the Green Party.

The amount of traffic that U.K. political parties recently received via social media referrals to their websites did not correspond to the number of Facebook friends or Twitter followers they received.



What the Predictions Mean….and What Really Happened

From these data sets, it appears that you could predict that the Tories would win if you believed that candidate searches would reflect the outcome of the UK General Elections. If you thought that having the most Facebook friends would predict the winning party, you would also be right.

Clearly, however, there was a disconnect between the traffic that the five largest UK political parties received, and whether they would win the election. The Tories desktop and mobile web traffic to their party’s website bore no relation to their carrying the vote on May 7th.

About the Author -

Joel Zand is a content manager and researcher at SimilarWeb. With extensive content marketing and social media experience, he is a former practicing lawyer who worked at the legal startups Justia and FindLaw. Joel is passionate about Apple technology and dogs.

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