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Social Reaction to the EU Referendum

by Jenna Rogers,  01-Jul-2016 04:02:00

map2.jpgAs the world still comes to terms with the result of the EU Referendum, we take a look at people’s opinions and reactions on social media.

The vote on whether to remain or leave the European Union saw the UK’s biggest voter turn out since the 1992 general election. Right up until the close of the polls on June 23rd there was still a lot of uncertainty with predictions split quite evenly.

The event was a great opportunity for us to track sentiment on social media on a large scale. Using’s Social TV platform STORY, we gathered social content associated with major terms such as euref, referendum, brexit, voteremain and voteleave and others. Our partner Vizrt took the aggregated data into Vizrt’s Social TV solution and created dynamic on-air visualisations.

On the day of voting we set up a poll associated with ‘euref’ to see whether there were more mentions of voteleave/leave or voteremain/remain on Twitter. Almost 500,000 messages enabled us to get opinions from a very large group of people.

Already before midnight our poll showed the exact end results of the referendum with 52% leave and 48% remain. At the time this was contradicting all other media and predictions, highlighting the power of social media.



We wanted to see what other topics were popular on the day of voting. Using STORY’s Wordcloud feature we monitored what terms were associated with #referendum which was a trending hashtag on Twitter that day.

We discovered that the second-most popular term was #DogsAtPollingStations.dogsatpollingstations-wordcloud.png

We then started gathering posts for this hashtag and found that thousands of people were sharing photos of their dogs waiting patiently outside polling stations across the UK.



In the early hours of Friday morning TV networks broadcasted the live counting of votes. When it became apparent that ‘leave’ had enough votes to win and the UK would be leaving the EU, we saw a huge spike in social data. The increase continues as the official announcement is made and Prime Minister David Cameron announces his resignation. Tweets with ‘brexit’ reach more than 10x the content than earlier on voting day.


Applying filters such as location or search terms enables further drilling down of analytics. When we apply a filter for posts containing ‘cameron’ we see a big spike at 08:26 GMT just as he announces his resignation, showing the power and speed of social media.


The data aggregated from’s Social TV platform STORY was then immediately available for visualization on air through Vizrt’s Social TV solution. The solution uses a series of templates to allow the journalist to decide which data points to visualize on-air. It also allows a playlist of graphics, or interactive graphics so the journalist can drive the flow of the presentation.
For the results from the EU Referendum, the customizable interactive graphics were able to visualize Story’s Wordcloud, Tweets with images, including video, as well as display georeferenced Tweets on a map. This allows the journalist to see each Tweet as it happens on a map giving not only the sentiment of the social media content but also a geographic breakdown.



 Would you like more info about STORY or our integration with Vizrt? Get in touch with us.

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