Autumn Statement live tweet-along

The following blog post is written by Gareth Pryce.

The chancellor’s Autumn Statement and Spending Review took place on Wednesday 25 November and has become a regular “tweet-along” event for us…the first being last year’s Autumn Statement.

So one year on, the approach is a little different, but the overall objective remains the same – to inform the debate using our official statistics where an opportunity may be presented for us to do so.

Last year…

…we had the involvement of many of our statisticians on the day, tweeting the content from their own accounts with an ONS retweet.

Our statistician accounts are now much more established and from a logistical point of view, we’ve found it easier to send all messages from the corporate account, whilst still having the flexibility to call on our statisticians via Hootsuite if we need their expertise for a response.

This time…

On the last 2 occasions (see here for summary of March’s budget we have worked with Economic colleagues as well as those from Digital and Media to collaborate in preparing content. These colleagues play an important role in ensuring that we have the correct messaging and appropriate amount of content from the areas that matter.

Some logistical decisions that we made this time around:

  • We asked the relevant statistician for content, giving then a brief of the ideas that had been discussed. As far as possible we used already agreed content to limit the need for additional work and sign off process.
  • Digital teams have been using Trello for a while now so we decided to make the move to share that way. Feedback from colleagues involved has been that preparations this time were much easier and we should continue to do so.



The day itself…

Twitter had a lot to say about the Spending Review/Autumn Statement itself so we prepared ourselves to keep on top of all of the mentions as far as possible – here’s a graph showing the spike on the day, around 125,000 mentions of Autumn Statement or Spending Review including hashtags over a 30 day period here.


Here’s a peak at our “control room” for the afternoon…



The statement opened with a broad overview of the economy and public spending so we were ready with our explainer content to put this in context



This went down well with our audience given the vast amount of terminology during the hour-plus speech.


There were areas that we couldn’t provide much content for, which meant some quieter moments in proceedings. However, this meant some time to look for opportunities to share relevant content that we hadn’t necessarily prepared for…




Once again, this ability to identify content on the go was important, and showed once again the value of having a team with varying skills present.


We saw some good engagement levels throughout, however the best was certainly saved for last.


House Prices have been almost constantly in the news agenda recently


Our interactive on how ONS stats explain the economy has been used in every live tweeting event we have held, yet it still proves very popular with users.

Usually we put this out at the beginning of the day but this time we tried posting it at the end, and it seemed to have the right result


What did we learn?

Our metrics are showing that these events continue to be valuable in terms of engaging with our audience – over 2000 engagements over 30 pieces of content – and we should continue to do this where opportunity allows.

The overall engagement level was about half of that seen during the Summer Budget in July.  This can largely be explained by the overall volume of Twitter content and the greater profile of the announcements being made here. There were areas where we didn’t have data to inform debate where this belonged to other departments.

Despite these gaps we still had plenty to say and our involvement was welcomed


So overall the event was a success so a big thank you to all involved! Now It’s important to review and look at how we can make a greater impact in future events given the scale of interest.



2 comments on “Autumn Statement live tweet-along”

  1. Love this – great work! On a much smaller scale, this is something that we haven’t quite nailed in terms of sharing resources from our events. This is a very handy blueprint. Cheers! Dyfrig

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