We rank the biggest English language publishers on Twitter for last month.
We last published Twitter publisher rankings in March, so were interested to see how things may have changed in the intervening months.
The Twitter rankings were well-known for being fairly stable – a set basket of publishers came in every month, with few disruptors in the top 25, and there was little swapping of positions.
Returning to the data two months later, many familiar names still make up the top of the table, but there’s a bit more variety.
Here were the top ten, based on tweets of content published in May alone:
The BBC retain their top spot, albeit by a less authoritative distance than before.
They’re still by far the dominant publisher, but the gap between them and nearest rivals the New York Times doesn’t seem to be as gaping as it once was.
Despite the fall-off, the BBC had the biggest news story of the month on Twitter – their live blog of the 2015 UK General Election results, which was tweeted and retweeted over 71,000 times.
There was a bit of a fall-off to the second most tweeted news story, the New York Times’ coverage of Ireland’s same sex marriage referendum (39,000 tweets). Other popular stories for the Times in May included their report on the arrest of FIFA officials on corruption charges (24,300 tweets), and the death of musician BB King (20,800 tweets).
The last five sites on the above chart – CNN, Forbes, Fox, The Independent and ABC News are all very evenly matched, with around 1 million tweets each for content published in May.
BuzzFeed, Bleacher Report and the Huffington Post dip out of the top ten, replaced by the UK Independent, ABC News, and Forbes.
The Independent, who came in at ninth, have been climbing steadily through the rankings, and their new position is not a complete surprise.
A more visible social presence from the site has been obvious in Spike over the last few months. While the i100 sub-site produces stories with particular social resonance, many of their top stories on Twitter last month were UK Election based.
The types of stories that we’ve seen perform particularly strongly on Twitter remain largely news based.
Further down the top 25, the LA Times makes strong gains to come in at 21st overall for the month. Their most-tweeted story of the month was a piece about a pipeline rupture in Santa Barbara (7,300 tweets). We’ve previously noted the site’s use of shareable standfirsts in their stories, increasing the potential of each’s ‘social lede’.
As a content distribution platform, Twitter continues to evolve. In a much publicised recent blog post outlining his vision of the future of Twitter, VC Chris Sacca suggested that Twitter’s real-time component is its greatest asset. He suggests a new ‘Live’ tab being added to follow live events, some being curated by human editors:
The company can build a high-quality, captivating immersion experience for major live events. The necessary elements are:
- A separate tab in Twitter (or app).
- Thoughtfully curated follows to build the initial stream.
- Human editors.
- Scheduling and promotion to build traffic.
No doubt these suggestions bring much opportunity to publishers looking to integrate their own real-time coverage with the wider audience of Twitter.
Auto-playing video ads are also now being rolled out, and it will be interesting to see whether this move extends to all videos in time, like Facebook.
Where the Data Comes From
All the data comes from Spike, our content discovery platform. We’re tracking the stories that matter around the world in real time – Sign up for a free trial today.
Data for the top 25 sites below. For more on our methodology, see this blog post.
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, please feel free to drop us a line.