The chatter matters: Those seeking ACA info inundate social media

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State-Based health insurance exchanges and navigator groups increase social media following by 20 percent since first week of open enrollment

The news cycle over the past week has been dominated with headlines and stories about hiccups in functionality, Kathleen Sebelius testifying on Capitol Hill and state-based exchange efforts to continue to reach the uninsured amidst the challenges experienced with open enrollment.

We’ve discovered an intriguing trend this week: conversations on social media about the Affordable Care Act have decreased, but state-based exchanges and navigator groups have increased their social media outreach and continue to gain followers.

Perhaps this suggests that as we get further from the beginning of enrollment and as the political discourse about the challenges of ACA implementation runs its course, consumers will continue to use social media to find information about purchasing health care coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Total conversations occurring on social media platforms has decreased by nearly 200,000 on a weekly basis since first week of open enrollment.
  • Social media following of state-based exchanges and navigator groups has increased nationwide by over 20 percent during first five weeks of open enrollment.


October 29 – November 4
The following analysis contextualizes the online discussion on blogs, mainstream media, Facebook and micro-media, or Twitter, relating to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for the period of October 29th through November 4.

TogoRun analyzed the number of discussions pertaining to ACA and Obamacare from 10/29 to 11/4, and determined that there were over  464,000 mentions across all online communities, down from 651,000 mentions during the first week of exchange implementation. As expected, Twitter, the micro-media platform, carries the majority of all online discussions with 51.0%, or 236,914 total mentions, with Facebook at 25.2% or (u: 116,973*), news groups at 8.5% (u: 39,854), forums at 7.6% (u: 35,408) and blogs at 7.1%% (u: 33,308) trailing far behind.

Overall Discussion Highlights
The graphs below depict the overall conversation by major online communities such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, digital news media and forums. The colors illustrate the specific community groups.

Trailing off over the course of the past week, daily discussion volumes have declined to approximately 80,000 mentions with sentiment holding true to the ebb and flow of the overall volume of discussion.

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Social Media Follower Race

As part of our methodology, we manually calculated all state health exchanges social media follower counts. In a social media spectrum, a large following can help distribute messages at a low cost and enhance a social media campaign’s engagement ratio. In states that are not running their own exchange, we have derived calculations from top navigator grant recipients, or other prominent groups working to educate the public about health care reform and exchanges.

Across the 47 states that have a social media presence, the total follower count as of the end of November 4, tops out at 231,186, up by over 20% from the first week of open enrollment which garnered 186,666 followers/likes.

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The above charts contextualize the online discussion on social media, blogs, mainstream media, and micro-media, or Twitter, relating to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges for the period of October 1 through November 4. All volume, dispersion and sentiment measurements were determined using data extracted from Sysomos, unless otherwise noted.
Online volume is a measurement of the number of relevant discussions that took place in a given time period. A discussion is defined as one comment or mention posted online. Tracking volume allows us to identify which platforms people are using to discuss ACA and/or Obamacare, and which have little permeation.
Dispersion refers to both the number of individual online communities hosting relevant conversation and the number of categories, or “demographics.” Online, people tend to congregate in communities where they share common interests or passions with other community members – such as health, wellness, finance and general interest sites. In other cases, people will gather within sites designed specifically to cater to the needs of a certain population (demographic/psychographic) segment – such as local communities. TogoRun defines these categories as “demographics” or “communities.”
Query terms used for social monitoring: “Health Insurance Exchange” OR “Health insurance marketplace” OR ACA OR “Affordable Care Act” OR HIE OR HIX OR medicaid OR medicare OR obamacare OR PPACA OR “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”