The Biggest Facebook Publishers of July 2015 – a Fox News Surge

August 11, 2015

Written by NewsWhip

Rankings of the biggest sites on Facebook, the most engaged content on the platform, and full data for the top 25 sites in July 2015.

Our last look at biggest Facebook publisher rankings in June stirred plenty of interest, with the arrival of some new (and, to many, unfamiliar) names to the top 25.
In July, we also had some intriguing developments on the battle for news feed space. Here are three of the main takeaways:
– Fox News overtook BuzzFeed to become the first legacy media brand to crack the top two on Facebook, based on overall monthly engagements.
Engagement for most sites grew strongly throughout the month. 
Sports sites ESPN, Bleacher Report and all featured in the overall top ten for the month.
Here were the top ten, based on shares alone:

Not too many surprises there, but looking at the overall engagement chart (top 25 below), we see Fox displace BuzzFeed to come in at second place on the overall rankings for the first time. It’s the first time that the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed haven’t been in the top two together, and Fox now become the first legacy media brand to crack into that position.

As per our rankings methodology, Fox’s score is made up for, but also local affiliates, such as Fox 8 Live (New Orleans), and Fox 4 News (Dallas-Fort Worth). It’s the same idea that we use for global English content from the likes of the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed, but on a regional, rather than international level.
Fox have always been a big player on our rankings, but probably haven’t had the same status on Facebook as the likes of the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed have had. Despite that, they’ve amassed a significant audience on Facebook, and can now lay a legitimate claim to the title of biggest news publisher on Facebook. While BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post pretty much always had an almost unassailable lead over the rest of the pack, that top spot now seems very much up for grabs, with less than 2 million interactions between the HuffPo and Fox at the very top.
Conservative news has long been a strong driver of engagement on Facebook, and Fox’s biggest stories rotate around the current affairs spectrum. Here’s what their biggest stories and number look like in Spike:

After last week’s Republican debates, Fox are on-track for another strong month in August. But looking down through the list of the top 25 sites, it’s not just Fox who have been capitalizing with political news. In July there seemed to be a stronger than usual representation of conservative publishers, including the Conservative Tribune, who landed very high up the share chart, and also Breitbart and Western Journalism. We predicated a lucrative few months ahead for political sites on Facebook in June, and it seems as though they’re already off to a strong start.
Elsewhere, engagement for almost all publishers grew during July.
Besides news, sports is also a huge driver of engagement on Facebook, as evidenced by the inclusion of three sports sites – ESPN, Goal and Bleacher Report – in the overall top 10.
At the very top, the Huffington Post maintain a strong lead. Facebook content-watchers are always interested to see what kind of stories are getting traction from the Post, and the answer is that it’s very much a mixed bag. Previously, we’ve seen personal Huffington Post blogs do very well on Facebook, and now some of their wider viral-focussed content is attracting huge engagement on Facebook. These were their biggest stories last month:

Throughout the publication of these rankings, personal blogs have done consistently well for the HuffPo on Facebook, and lists have done really well for BuzzFeed. There’s been endless chatter about these lists online for a number of years now, but our monthly Facebook data illustrates the staying power of the format as a driver of Facebook engagement. Last month, four of their top five posts were in numbered order (but don’t use the ‘listicle’ word). If it ain’t broke…

The Guardian were up by two million interactions overall since June. Their strongest Facebook story of the month was titled ‘Want To Help Greece? Go There On Holiday‘, and had over 374,000 interactions on Facebook.
Last month’s surprise newcomer, LittleThings, has fallen back somewhat in overall engagements. Despite that, they’re still very high up in shares alone, with over 4.83 million during July. It’s interesting to note the ratio of shares on their content as opposed to other engagements. They maintain a ratio that’s going to be of significant interest to any other publishers targeting the lucrative parent demographic on Facebook.
The Mirror will no doubt be pleased with their performance, coming in at tenth overall, ahead of UK competitors the Guardian and the BBC. Back at the start of the year, we asked the Mirror’s Head of Social about her team’s approach to social. The response goes a long way to explain the continued strong performance of the Mirror on social:

“Social media is hugely important in reaching new, and existing, readers. We wouldn’t publish a newspaper and not put it in shops for people to buy and read. For me, social media – and search engines – are the shops for online content… We need to take our content to where our readers are and where they are going to want to (and in many cases now expect to) find it.”

In June, we were marveling at the strong performances of social upstarts, such as Diply and Uproxx*. They haven’t been able to keep the same momentum through July, while many of the legacy names have stabilized and improved their counts. And with the new success of Fox, a high benchmark has been set for all traditional media sites.
Of course, this isn’t exactly conclusive evidence that all the challenges of social have been solved by these publishers, but many of these sites seem to be a lot more visible in 2015.
Finally, the inclusion of two India-focussed sites is very noteworthy this month, with both the India Times and the Indian Express featuring in the top 25.
See below for the top 25, based on total engagements on articles published in July 2015 alone.
* has been in contact and say NewsWhip has not gathered all the content they published in July in this ranking. We will now be reviewing our coverage of the site. If you are a publisher and believe we are not capturing your new content effectively in these rankings, drop us a line to contact at newswhip dot com, and we’ll get back to you quickly. 

Where Does the Data Come From? 

All the data comes from Spike, our content discovery platform. Spike tracks the stories, videos and more that matter around the world in real time – Sign up for a free trial today.

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, please feel free to drop us a line.

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1) Find the best stories on the social web, fast, with Spike.
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