On Facebook nearly as many people (58.3%) heard about Sir Alex’s retirement as the number who heard about the death of Margaret Thatcher on the day of her passing (60.7%)
Sir Alex Ferguson shocked the footballing world this week, by announcing his retirement after 27 years at Old Trafford. The football manager is widely regarded as the best British manager of all time, and the news of his retirement reverberated on social media channels.Using YouGov’s social media analysis tool, SoMA, we can see that on the day prior to the announcement, just 3.9% of the Twitter population heard about Sir Alex Ferguson. This shot up to an incredible 68.5% of the Twitter population on 8 May. On Twitter, more men (59%) heard about Sir Alex, while more people from the North were exposed to a tweet about the retiring football impresario than in any other part of the country (21%).
Interestingly, the story maintained momentum throughout the following day, with 40% of the UK Twitter population having heard at least one mention of Sir Alex’s retirement.
On Facebook, the results are perhaps even more significant due to the high number of users; there are approximately 10m Twitter users in the UK, while the UK Facebook population is estimated to be roughly three-times that. On the day prior to the announcement, 3.2% of the Facebook population heard about Sir Alex Ferguson, which rose to a staggering 58.3% on 8 May.
To put this into context, on Facebook nearly as many people heard about Sir Alex’s retirement as the number who heard about the death of Margaret Thatcher on the day of her passing (60.7%).
Furthermore, the demographic audience that was exposed to Sir Alex Ferguson on their private news feeds differed on the two social networks. For example, a smaller proportion of those who heard about Sir Alex Ferguson on Facebook were male (55%), while a slightly higher proportion of those exposed were from the North (29%).
Lots of events are covered in the media, but not all stories make enough of an impression for many people to talk about them using their personal Facebook and Twitter accounts. Using SoMA, however, we can measure what proportion of the more than 30m Brits on Facebook and 10m Brits on Twitter are hearing about various news stories, and using demographic filters we can also learn which stories make the biggest impression on different audiences.