How Different Sites are Stacking up on Facebook


By   |   September 17th, 2014   |   Reading time: 3 minutes Other

We look at social engagement growth patterns from sites outside the top 25 publishers. 

Every month, we see some new names on our Facebook publishers charts. August saw the arrival of IFLScience, amongst a number of political sites.

However, just becase we only publish the top 25 each month doesn’t mean that there’s plenty of interesting developments further down the table.

Spike’s database is huge, covering hundreds of millions of stories from tens of thousands of publishers globally. Since we only share a snapshot of that data in our monthly rankings (latest for Facebook and Twitter), we thought it would be interesting to zero in on some similar sites a bit further down the rankings.

UK News

First, we looked at two UK news sites that are increasingly prominent. When it comes to reach on Facebook, native UK content on news feeds is dominated by the bigger global publishers, the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed. Behind these come the Guardian and the Mail Online, both of whose overall numbers are bolstered by their American and (for the Guardian) Australian stories.

Not too far down the Facebook rankings though, two other UK news sites, the Independent and the Mirror, have been making steady gains. In particular, the Mirror has had some good fortunes lately, thanks to a digital first strategy that gives plenty of attention to social distribution. Here’s how the two fared over the summer:

uk news 2014

Business Insider has usurped Mashable

Mashable and Business Insider are two sites whose stories are popular with news hungry readers that spend a lot of their day on Facebook and Twitter. Despite not always making it into the top 25 rankings on Facebook, both attract a healthy level of engagement. In May, Business Insider overtook Mashable in terms of overall Facebook engagements. They’ve maintained that lead throughout the summer, despite both sites seeing a slight fall-off in their overall total.

mashable business insider

The Verge’s Spectacular August

When it comes to tech news (discounting the tech sections of bigger publishers), The Verge is out in front on Facebook. They had a particularly impressive August, increasing their Facebook total by around 50%, to over 3 million. That puts them right ahead of the likes of the Onion, Mashable, the LA Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Interestingly, most of their biggest stories have an entertainment focus, from video gaming to film. Their coverage of Patrick Stewart’s Ice Bucket Challenge pulled in almost 275,000 Likes alone, helping to boost the overall engagement rate for the site.

Here’s how they grew from June to August:

 the verge 2014

Bleacher Report top sports rankings

In sports, the sites with the biggest social reach are Bleacher Report, ESPN and Goal.com.

Bleacher Report perform strongest, coming in 11th overall in August. A relatively new arrival to the upper leagues is Goal.com, who overtook ESPN for the first time in August to place at 20th overall.

Here’s how the three sites have been doing battle over the past few months:

bleacher report 2014

Vox finding an audience

Finally, Vox.com launched to much anticipation in April. The site promised to bring ‘explanatory journalism’ to the fore of their work. Meanwhile, Nate Silver’s data journalism site FiveThirtyEight attracted similar levels of interest.

Vox have been making strides up the ranks,coming in ahead of the Atlantic, Politico and Gawker in overall Facebook interactions in August. June was their best month to date, with a bit of a fall-off in July.

FiveThirtyEight meanwhile, produce far fewer stories each month. They’ve struggled to make a real impact on Facebook, but their statistics-driven World Cup analysis gave them a boost during the summer, before falling off again in August.

Make sure to stay tuned to the blog for more isights in future. You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter.

If you’d like to know more about specific publisher data, drop us an email.

We compiled our data using Spike, which tracks the content that people are sharing and engaging with in real time. It’s used by some of the world’s leading digital newsrooms and content creators. We’ve just launched version 2.0 – there’s a free trial for new users.

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