#moyesout – How to ignite a community

David Moyes by Hase DonIt’s Monday morning, and Gravity’s resident United fan enters the office to an unprecedented level of abuse. After their (somewhat) shocking 3-0 loss to Liverpool over the weekend, conversation in the office quickly turned to Moyes’ shaky position at the helm. This made us think:

When has conversation about Moyes’ untenable position been at it’s highest? Are we currently in the midst of Moyes’ least popular period at the club? When has online uproar reached its highest point with #MoyesOut?

So, knowing the need for a quick turn around whilst the conversation was still relevant, we decided to map mentions of #MoyesOut over the season to date. The data showed that in fact losses earlier in the season had caused more uproar than the previous weekend’s embarrassment. We also saw that there was a significant amount of people saying #MoyesOut before the start of the season. Pretty interesting stuff.

After marvelling at some of our initial findings, we began to wonder how we could benchmark the #MoyesOut mentions against another manager. The first manager that came to mind, perhaps because of various allegiances in the office, and because of a similar notable online campaign for his head was Arséne. It’s fair to say the results were fascinating. Mentions of Arséne were in total, much lower than Moyes. However, the sheer scale of #WengerOut mentions (around 45k in one day) after the loss to Aston Villa on the first day of the season overshadowed the entire graph. We then subsequently stretched the results back to the start of 2013 to give some context of #WengerOut in the latter half of last season.

Fairly happy with our work* we had to think about how to get this piece of content out there. It was quickly decided that Reddit’s r/soccer page, as the bustling ‘front page’ of Football news and stats, was the way to go. We uploaded the image to imgur and posted to Reddit. We had around 150 upvotes on the post in the first hour, and from there things started to fly.

Three days on, here are the results:

41,264 views on the original image we shared on Reddit (Gravity Thinking branded).

1,114 Reddit upvotes and 278 comments. #2 in r/soccer (190k active users).

Shared by: Oliver Kay (chief football correspondent from The Times), Owen Gibson (Guardian chief sports correspondent), Bleacher Report UK, Loaded Magazine, Paddy Power, Betfair, BTSport, Bootifulgame, InsideWorldFootball, FTBpro, JOE.ie and more – a combined total potential impressions of 2.2 million (combined total followers of tweeters).

Over 220 direct mentions of @GravityThinking in two days.

No paid media and no help from influential friends, this was a great bit of real-time content showing off what we do best.

Approx. 681 tweets…leading to just over 1,600 RT’s in four languages.

*worth saying that this graph doesn’t differentiate between users mentioning #moyes/wengerout in a sarcastic way, this was just a quick search for volume metrics. The good news is, with our tool Crimson Hexagon, we can identify sarcasm, and deliver sentiment results at around 95-97% accurate!

Andrew Roberts is managing partner at Gravity Thinking