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Meet The Newcomers: The Biggest Facebook Publishers of November 2014

We rank the biggest Facebook publishers of last month, and find a new most-shared site, along with some complete newcomers amongst the top 25.

For the first time since we started recording data on Facebook publishers in August 2013, neither the Huffington Post nor BuzzFeed were the most-shared site on Facebook last month.

Instead, it’s quiz specialists PlayBuzz who make the leap to become the most-shared English language site of November 2014.

November’s rankings see the biggest upset in the chart since the Huffington Post overtook BuzzFeed at the top earlier this year. Through exclusive social data from Spike, we found:

  • PlayBuzz were the most-shared publisher on Facebook last month, with over 8.7 million shares,
  • Four US conservative politics sites are among the top 25 sites,
  • 13 sites had over 10 million combined interactions last month.

Here are the top 10 for November, ranked by total shares:

November 2014 facebook

While the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed remain in first and second place in terms of overall interactions, PlayBuzz have stolen a march by rapidly adding to their share total in November. Last month, they made even more gains on their strong October position, which saw them overtake BuzzFeed.

Although total shares are down for many publishers (including the Huffington Post), it’s still a very impressive display from the site.

Their most-engaged pieces have millions of interactions, and seem to be a seemingly never-ending stream of quizzes, with titles like ‘What Crime Did You Commit In Your Past Life?’ (2.67 million interactions), ‘What Is Your True Personality?’ (1.84 million interactions), and ‘What Holiday Matches Your Personality?’ (1.67 million interactions).

(For more on PlayBuzz’s strategy, see our recent Q&A with them.)

The Huffington Post’s overall total dropped last month, but they still had a string of heavily-shared stories, including ’10 Things Your Mom Never Told You’ (1.32 million interactions), and ’10 Ways Introverts Interact Differently With The World’ (875,000 interactions).

BuzzFeed’s biggest story last month was titled ‘26 Pictures Will Make You Reevaluate Your Entire Existence‘, and was the second biggest story of the month on Facebook.

Last month, we read about BuzzFeed’s ‘social URLs‘, and the possible role that they may play in a story’s shareability. The 26 Pictures listicles was a good example, with its the-universe-is-scary link.

US Political Sites Make Gains

Political site the Independent Journal Review is back in the top 10, after a short absence.  The Conservative Tribune, Tea Party Network News (TPNN) and Western Journalism also make appearances in the top rankings, confirming that politics was hotly-debated on Facebook last month.

Many of these sites had stories in the top most-shared list, bringing up their monthly totals. Most of their interactions were also Likes, which suggests that a large part of theses sites’ total interactions took place on Facebook itself.

Last month, the reach of the IJR was ahead of more mainstream news outlets, including the New York Times and the Guardian. Those sites were pushed down the rankings, and saw their totals decrease slightly on October’s numbers. With Facebook looking as though it may be directing more attention to breaking and ‘hard’ news in the near future with the reported expansion of its trending feature, news publishers will be battling even more for attention and space. In times of major breaking news, traditional outlets are likely to find themselves jostling for space on news feeds alongside digital newcomers, with high traffic and engagement potentially at stake.

Despite that trend, the BBC managed to make gains last month, climbing to 13th overall, and coming in as the sixth most-shared site. In an analysis we conducted recently, the BBC is one news publisher that manages to do a reasonable job of returning a high ratio of shares in its overall totals.

The Mail Online (10th most-shared) will be happy with their performance, while the Mirror climbed to their highest position yet, at 8th overall. Just a few months ago, we were pointing to the slow rise of the Mirror through the chart, and now they’re firmly inside the 10 biggest sites on Facebook.

Also on the news front: amid the listicles and quizzes near the top of the biggest stories list was an address from President Obama, via the White House website. That livestream had over 1.44 million interactions.

Newcomers to the Rankings

Elsewhere, Yahoo and ESPN dropped out of the top 25, while IFLScience returned.

MoviePilot is a newcomer at number 17. The site has a very loyal audience on Facebook, and its coverage of all things film-related is keenly read (and shared by readers). Comicbook.com is another entertainment site performing strongly in the rankings, indicating that niche publishers can reach a huge global audience through Facebook.

Another newcomer at number 25 is Rare.us, a news and entertainment site that clocked up over 7.2 million interactions (most of them Likes) during November. Their most popular story made it into the overall biggest stories list, with over 638,000 interactions for a story about a World War 1 themed Christmas song.

We don’t know too much about Rare, except that it seems to have started out as a conservative news site last year, before realigning. We’ll be watching their progress in the weeks ahead.

We’ll be back with the biggest Twitter publishers tomorrow. We’re also going to be unveiling our picks of the best publishers on social media on the blog in the coming days. To make sure you don’t miss out, subscribe to our blog and newsletter at the top of the page for updates, or follow us on Twitter.

Interested in This Data?

We compiled our data using Spike, which tracks the stories, videos, and other 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.

There’s a free trial for new users.

Data for top 25 sites below. ‘Facebook Total’ = Likes (or Recommends), Comments and Shares combined. This data relates only to content published from November 1 2014 – November 30 2014. Figures for ABC News are unavailable due to an ongoing Facebook scoring problem.

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.

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