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The Biggest Facebook Publishers of October 2014

We list the 25 most shared, liked and commented English language sites on Facebook during October. 

September’s rankings were full of surprise. There was a lot of curiosity around the arrival of PlayBuzz to the upper reaches, while sites like the Mirror made large overall gains to disrupt some longstanding entrants.

We’ve consulted Spike’s comprehensive social database once again, to find what sites were getting shared throughout October. This month:

  • The Huffington Post hit a record 67.4 million Facebook interactions for content published in October,
  • PlayBuzz jump to third place overall, ahead of Fox News,
  • The New York Times climb to seventh place overall, sixth most-shared,
  • 15 of the Facebook top 25 now have over 10 million monthly interactions.

Here were the top ten, ranked in order of Facebook shares alone:

october 2014 facebook

The Huffington Post continue to assert their dominance in terms of overall sharing reach. They added an impressive 2.1 million shares on their September numbers. That brought their overall Facebook total up to over 67.4 million for the month, a colossal increase on the 53.4 million they achieved in September. Here are their top five stories last month, with Facebook interaction breakdowns (click to enlarge):

The Huffington Post's Biggest Stories

BuzzFeed also had a good month, growing their overall interactions by about 7 million. October showed us that BuzzFeed seem to be very much over their quiz phase. Back at the start of 2014, we were talking about how the new format had been so successful for BuzzFeed on Facebook. It’s a different story now, with not a quiz to be seen amongst BuzzFeed’s most-shared stories last month. Instead, it’s back to an old staple – the listicle.

After their ascension to second place in terms of overall shares in September, PlayBuzz continued to grow their total throughout October. They’re in second place again in the top 10 shares chart, managing to close the gap on the Huffington Post, with a significantly lower output.

Meanwhile, Bitecharge, another quiz-oriented site, came onto our radar in a big way last month. They had the most-shared story of last month, the simply titled ‘How Old Do You Act?‘, which picked up over 1.46 million shares, ahead of PlayBuzz’s most shared quiz, ‘What Color Is Your Personality?‘ by 400,000 shares or so.

Bitecharge didn’t appear in the overall top 25, or the top 10 most shared in October, but we’ll be watching closely to see if they can replicate PlayBuzz’s huge viral success in the coming months.

The New York Times rose to sixth place, with just over 3,350,000 shares for October.

Their ‘Forty Portraits In Forty Years‘ story was in the top 50 most-shared stories on Facebook last month. Showing 40 years of the same family portrait, it was a huge hit for the Times, showing the diverse range of content that tends to be popular on social.

Last month Comicbook.com was a newcomer to the top 25 last month. They built on that success in October, climbing to 11th overall. Their most-shared story last month was a homage to Charlie Brown, on the comic strip’s 64th anniversary.

The overwhelming majority of the site’s interactions are ‘Likes’, indicating that much of Comic Book’s engagement is happening on Facebook itself. Their Facebook page is a hotbed of discussion for comics fans, with each post attracting impressive engagement levels. With just 1,320 stories last month, they’re another example of a niche publisher that knows how to use social media to build an audience.

At the bottom of the table, two US news sites, the Washington Post and USA Today, entered the top 25.

Absences from the top 25 this month included Upworthy and Elite Daily.

For the first time, a majority of the sites in the top 25  – 15 – have over 10 million combined interactions. Just six months ago, that figure was six.

It’s important to remember that this kind of social data should be considered in conjunction with referral traffic and other engagement metrics by publishers. It’s another element that allows publishers to analyse engagement with their readers – something that users of our Insights platform are already doing.

Where Does NewsWhip Get All This Data?

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. It now features a one month view to show the biggest stories of the last 30 days – there’s a free trial for new users.

For the Facebook comments column, we do count comments left on sites that have the Facebook social plugin enabled, such as BuzzFeed and Vice. However, it’s unlikely that these additional comments have a major impact on the overall rankings, as our data shows that the overwhelming majority of commenting takes place on Facebook itself.

NewsWhip gathers its data from Spike, our professional platform that monitors the social distribution of news. While we strive for complete coverage, sometimes we will miss some content for some publishers. If it looks to you like we’re missing something or have our numbers wrong, drop us a line.

 

What Next?

 

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