We look at the biggest stories on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest, and find there is very little cross-over between the four. 
With the release of our monthly Facebook and Twitter rankings earlier this week, we were struck more than ever by the disparities between popular content on the two networks.
Some of Facebook’s biggest hits weren’t only absent from Twitter’s list, their tweet numbers barely registered. Similarly, we noticed very disparate sharing numbers between Twitter and LinkedIn when we looked at sharing of stories on the latter recently.
We used Spike’s database to look at the top 150 most-shared, tweeted and pinned English language stories on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest from October to December 2014, to see if there was much cross-over between networks. We didn’t expect to find too much – maybe some commonalities between Twitter and Facebook. But there were even less than we thought.
Here’s a table showing the number of shared stories in the top 100 for each network over the three months:
number of shared stories in the top 100 for each network
Here’s some of what we found from the research:

Looking closely at the share numbers for each story, you’ll also notice that while come stories can get huge traction on one network, they might get abysmal shares – sometimes none – on other platforms. That’s not all that ground-breaking when looking at the crossover between LinkedIn and Pinterest (0), but a bit more surprising when looking at the the Twitter/Facebook counts. Some of Facebook’s most viral hits, which get record-breaking levels of engagement on the network every month, see barely any engagement on Twitter, Pinterest or LinkedIn.
engagement numbers
Meanwhile, there were good Facebook share numbers for the top 100 Pinterest stories, indicating cross-over appeal between both platforms. BuzzFeed’s commitment to Pinterest seems to be paying off, as they were responsible for 21 of the top 100 stories over the three months.
engagement numbers 2
Relative sharing numbers should also be noted – some of the most shared posts on LinkedIn had thousands more shares on Facebook, but obviously still wouldn’t make the Facebook top 100. Many of the stories that didn’t cross over were still shared lots on the various platforms, but they didn’t capture as much attention relatively.
It’s clear from the data that just because something is a viral hit on Facebook doesn’t mean it’s going to translate well to all platforms. There is often sweet middle ground, but for large publishers hoping to push everything out in the same way across each of their social channels, it’s obvious that some content tailoring might be needed.
We’ve uploaded the whole file so you can take a look for yourself. You’ll see 100 stories for each network, with full share counts. Cross-overs are marked green.

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