“Soft” media items — or viral, “feel good” content produced by online publishers — could be edging out hard news sites for stories that yield the most interactions on Facebook, if October findings by analytics firm NewsWhip are any indication.
NewsWhip’s latest Facebook publisher rankings, which listed the top 25 sites ranked by total engagements — likes, comments, shares and reactions — on Facebook in September reveal that while “traditional” publishers still produce the content most likely to be shared, commented on and discussed via the social platform, that trend could be changing.
Bored Panda, the cute-centric art and photo site focusing on viral, animal-based content, earned NewsWhip’s number-one spot for engagement for the month of September, recording more than 32 million interactions throughout with 1,231 published articles.
The media company, which was founded in 2009 and now counts about 11.5 million Facebook followers, has boomed in social engagement on the platform recently, now achieving about five million more monthly engagements than it saw only two months prior.
Fox News and the New York Times took second and third place, respectively, for a near tie (Fox netted nearly 28 million interactions on 55,000 articles, versus NYT’s 26 million interactions on about 5,700 articles).
NewsWhip’s top publishers on Facebook for September 2017. Articles were ranked by likes, shares, comments and reactions.
CNN.com, NBC.com and the U.K.’s Daily Mail rounded out the rankings’ top five, earning 23.8 million, 23.5 million and 21.3 million engagements through the month of September, respectively.
While news publishers generally comprised the majority of NewsWhip’s top-ten rankings, several outlets promoting viral content crept into the list, underscoring the suggestion that light-hearted, positive content could be yielding more social interactions than ever before.
Millennial-focused online news and entertainment site BuzzFeed landed in NewsWhip’s top ten for the first time, recording nearly 17 million engagements on Facebook in September through nearly 9,000 articles. Inspiration-oriented site Shareably took the 19th spot, beating top-tier outlets such as ESPN and the U.K.’s Independent with more than 13 million engagements.
Digital outlets focusing on political content also appear to be yielding relatively higher levels of engagement than years prior. Conservative news and opinion site The Daily Wire has been a big winner in recent months, now edging out the top 10 to produce nearly 16 million engagements in September on more than 1,100 articles. Capitol Hill political mainstay The Hill wasn’t far behind, taking the number-12 spot with more than 15 million engagements on nearly 4,000 articles. Conservative, Millennial-focused site Independent Journal Review surged in NewsWhip’s engagement rankings, seeing more than 14 million engagements through more than 2,000 articles shared on Facebook.
NewsWhip’s Facebook publisher rankings don’t count engagement via Facebook Live videos/images, and also don’t take into account whether any portion of a publisher’s recorded engagements came from paid exposure.