We rank and analyse the biggest Twitter publishers of last month, from the BBC to Russia Today. 

Following on from yesterday’s look at the biggest sites on Facebook during October, here are the publishers that best managed to use Twitter to spread their stories and reach new readers in October.

In September’s Twitter rankings, we asked if October would be the month that the BBC would see more than 4 millions tweets for the first time. The answer, according to data from Spike:

  • Yep, the BBC break the 4 million tweet mark for the first time,
  • Mashable record an impressive 842 average tweets per story throughout October,
  • CNN and the Guardian overtake ABC News to take third and fourth place,
  • All top ten sites achieve over 1 million tweets,
  • Russia Today enter the charts at 25th.

Twitter publishers October 2014

The BBC finally broke the 4 million tweet mark. Again their most popular stories of the last month on Twitter were all current news pieces.

As we’ve previously mentioned, the huge followings of the BBC’s various Twitter accounts means that they break news to an enormous audience on Twitter, leading to an immediate wave of retweets whenever they tweet a big story.

The New York Times held their position in second, thanks in part to scoring the most-tweeted story of the month. That was a piece titled ‘The Secret Casualties of Iraq’s Abandoned Chemical Weapons‘, which had over 94,500 tweets in October alone. The fact that this story was so popular on Twitter is somewhat of a surprise – it’s a media rich longform piece that comes in at a few thousand words long, and is accompanied by many detailed graphs and maps.

Ultimately though, it’s an excellent piece of reporting by CJ Chivers (“this is why we have journalists,” was Jay Rosen’s take), and it was helped on its way to the top of the Twitter chart by clever work from the NYT’s social media team, who led with some intriguing copy and a map. This story once again proves that longform can do well on social media – as long as it’s interesting to wide enough of an audience.

Other big stories on Twitter last month included CNN’s coverage of the Nobel Peace Prize announcement (63,300 tweets), a local Fox News story about a child that handed out heroin to her friends (40,000 tweets), and Tim Cook’s announcement about his sexuality on Bloomberg Businessweek (32,500 tweets). The last story was published on October 30, meaning that it achieved its Twitter score in just two days.

Further down the list, we see the order of sites relatively unchanged from September.

Business Insider, the Washington Post and the Independent all had a good month, climbing some places.

For the first time, all top ten sites have in excess of 1 million tweets each. Given that bulk tweets is only one way of measuring Twitter success, we decided to take a closer look at the average tweet count per story of the top 25 sites.

Here’s what that count looks like:

average shares twitter October 2014

While this chart isn’t a strict rankings of the highest average tweets per story for all sites, it gives a good indication of the big hitters making the most of their reach.

Mashable are well out in front, with over 840 average tweets per story last month. It’s impressive stuff. Their Twitter feed is mandatory reading for any social media editor looking to engage readers on Twitter. They have a good tone, and use strong social ledes, as well as images and videos to sell their stories.

MTV also had a good month, with several stories in the top 100 most-tweeted, and a high average tweet count.

We’ll be digging deeper into the data in the coming weeks, so be sure to subscribe to the blog for updates.

We hope that this independently-verified data helps publishers get a feel as to how many readers are at least seeing their stories on social media, and how they stack up against their competitors.

Where Does the Data Come from? 

All the data comes from Spike, our content discovery platform. Spike tracks around half a million stories from tens of thousands of course, and ranks them by the speed at which they’re being shared on Twitter, Facebook, and more. We’ve just added Influencers –  a new feature that shows important Twitter users driving the conversation in different niches. Sign up for a free trial here.

Here are the top 25 sites, ranked by total tweets for stories and other content published during October. Feel free to download the file, and get in touch if you’d like more information about specific sites.

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, feel free to drop us a line. To learn more about the methodology behind these rankings, check out this post

What Next?

1) Take a free trial of Spike, to find stories that really fly on Twitter
2) Join our weekly newsletter, read globally by 8,500 media professionals

Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial