Queensland Health – A social media statistical analysis

Qld Health Log

This week we have been asked to choose an organization, I have chosen Queensland Health, and to perform a social media analysis using social media monitoring tools. Additionally we have been asked to report upon our experience in using the tools and to offer any recommendations / insights we might have to offer to the organization we have analysed.

Who are Queensland Health?

Queensland Health is the government department responsible for operating and administering the public health system of the Australian State of Queensland. Australia is lucky to have a free public health system that takes of the health needs of the around fifty percent of Australians  who do not have health insurance, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This means that Queensland Health looks after the health concerns of around eleven million people.

Social media statistical analysis of Queensland Health

The tool I chose to analyse Queensland Health with was Facebooks link to “Likes”:


This tool gives us a break down on the number of likes the Facebook page has received as well as the number of people who are talking about the page, via summary totals and a timeline line graph.

With 3,023 likes for an organization that serves 2,300,000 people that breaks down to a 0.13 percent approval rating. This could be interpreted as saying that one in every 1,000 of the people who use the service actually approve of the organization enough to like it on Facebook. But this statistic needs to take into account how many Queenslanders actually use Facebook. According to Frank Media Social Media Statistics Australia  as of April 2013 there were 11,489,380 Australians using Facebook. That means that roughly half of all Australians use Facebook and we can therefore presume that roughly half of all Queenslanders use Facebook. So we can therefore say that 1 in every 500 Queenslanders, who actually use Facebook and the services of Queensland Health, actually like Queensland Health enough to like it. A pretty appalling statistic, but far less appalling then when I used the population of Australia as the population of Queensland for my calculations, but that doesn’t take into account the number of Queensland Health clients who use Facebook who haven’t discovered the Queensland Health page yet. You will probably let out a sigh of relief when I tell you that I do not have an actual statistic for that so therefore my lengthy analysis of a single statistic ends.

Next I would like to examine the timeline line graph of likes per week and number of people talking about this page / organization between August 16, 2013 and September 14, 2013. One of the clearest trends is the steady increase in both likes and people talking about Queensland Health over this time frame. This may well simply be due to a steadily increasing number of people discovering the page over time. This does not, however, explain the sharp increase experienced for both statistics between the 27th of August and 3rd of September. In examining events that occurred around the beginning of this sharp rise in activity I found that, from the 28th of August, there were posts on Queensland Health’s Facebook page about an outbreak of STEC (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli). Additionally, I remember these reports being broadcast on free to air television and it appears to be the case that concern regarding this outbreak lead to a social media search, and conversations about, this health risk. The spike in popularity continued up until 3rd of September when concerns regarding the outbreak appear to have abated.

My views on the use of existing social media analysis tools

In this post I have used only a single, relatively simple, analysis tool and yet I have very quickly run out of words. Statistics do not exist in isolation and must always be extrapolated upon by comparison with additional relevant statistics. We thereby end up with a reliable, powerful tool that allows us to analyse both successes and failures and to take action upon this critical information.


In offering advice to Queensland Health I would first say that they should take heart that their public awareness campaigns are effective, as the STEC outbreak and resultant interest in their Facebook page illustrates.

To build their social media following I would suggest that they promote social media presence more via traditional media (television, radio, etc). I would also say that they appear to be moving towards a cohesive strategic use of social media, it is especially good to see that they promote their social media sites via their webpage.

Your input is valued

So a slightly longer post this week. Apologies to anyone who found it a bit long winded, but I do love getting into statistics.

Any input would be most welcome.


13 thoughts on “Queensland Health – A social media statistical analysis

  1. Conor Farne Sang

    Don’t you have any other further comments about your experience with the tool? How easy was it to pick up and use? Did you find it informative enough? Was it in your opinion well designed, clear and easy to read and understand? Did you find any other better tools or perhaps have any criticisms of the tool itself that could be improved upon?

    1. adenjones Post author

      The major point I wanted to make with this post was to demonstrate that even simple statistics, when contrasted with other statistics (in particular Queensland Health’s Facebook likes), can tell us a lot. I found that the Facebook page likes information was, by itself, relatively empty of content but that by comparing it with events (in particular the spike in Facebook interest that occurred at the time of the STEC outbreak) you could use it to predict future spikes in interest.
      I would say that the Facebook likes information could offer a whole lot more information but that would bring up privacy concerns for the page owner.

  2. Maram

    Even though it’s very long post but I enjoyed reading these statistics.
    In my opinion, they might also integrate social media features into an application to have a single integration tool and make information processing much easier.

  3. djcoonan

    I’m a little confused. Where did you get the figure of 11 million for Queensland? The ABS shows over 4.4 million in 2011, but seeing a growth of 6 million in two years seems strange. Or is it that Queensland health handles more than just Queensland’s health needs?

  4. adenjones Post author

    Thanks for the correction. I accidentally used the population of Australia instead of the population of Queensland. If you are wondering why I am using 2.3 instead of 4.6 (http://www.oesr.qld.gov.au/products/briefs/pop-growth-qld/qld-pop-counter.php) it is because half of Australians have health insurance and so are less likely to use the public system.
    This situation brings to mind examples we have had of social media gone wrong. Where an organisation has made a mistake and it has been brought to light and then they have aggravated the problem by deleting references to the mistake etc. Thanks again.
    Delete comment, delete comment, delete comment 🙂

  5. Adam Farne Sang

    Wouldn’t you also attribute the lack of approval ratings based on the fact that people see it as a compulsory service to have healthcare? They don’t feel as though the government organisation needs approval or referrals because no-one would willingly want to go there (aside from needing to for medical reasons).
    Also, as another checkup, how does their approval rating through social media compare to other state health departments in Australia?

    1. adenjones Post author

      You may have a point about people taking a free service for granted. Additionally, people like me who have never been admitted to hospital probably never really think about Health Departments; that is until something terrible happens to us 🙂
      In regards to the second question, I did a quick search with Topsy (http://topsy.com/analytics?q1=%22Queensland%20Health%22&q2=%22Victoria%20Health%22&q3=%22NSW%20Health%22&via=Topsy) the url should re-run the search for you. And it actually appears as if Queensland Health is just as popular as NSW health, with Victoria health faring pretty abysmally. Thanks for the question, I was thinking about doing some kind of a comparison. Should help you guys with your external social media part of the assignment.

  6. xavier1610

    Great post as usual Aden,

    Do you see any negative affects from social monitoring? Is there potentially something that could occur as a result of organizations deeply analysising these stats?

    1. adenjones Post author

      Thanks for the response. I don’t personally see how any kind of knowledge can be negative. I guess the only way information from statistics could cause harm is if bad conclusions were drawn from them, or bad actions were performed in reaction to statistics.

      1. xavier1610

        I would have to agree, its easy enough to see how many likes a page may have, but to conclude that a brand is doing well based upon this would certainly be ineffective, as you are not analyzing correctly what the customer actually needs 🙂

  7. Pingback: Shout out to Queensland Health | A weekend in Brisbane | Yummy Lummy

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