Our exclusive rankings of the biggest sites on Twitter in July show how publishers are doing on the platform, and what stories really got people tweeting during the month.
In June, publishers at the top of our Twitter ranking saw a little stagnation in their engagement numbers. Things were looking a little fresher in July.
This time, there are a few new sites really making a name for themselves, as well as strong performances from some old reliables.
Here were the ten biggest sites during July, based on tweets of the content published during the month. Data via Spike.
The BBC remain on top, with a lead of 1 million over their nearest rivals the New York Times. After a few months of gradual decline, the BBC grew their overall total by around 400,000 in July.
With such a high tweet count, and such a varied content output, it’s always interesting to see which of the BBC’s stories was most tweeted in a given month. Frequently, big breaking news stories are right up there, but in July, it was all about sport. The BBC’s live-blog of the Wimbledon men’s final was their most tweeted piece of the month, with almost 12,000 tweets. That was followed by a report on the semi-final performance of the English women’s football team in the World Cup third place play-off, with almost 11,000 tweets.
As our figures below show, the BBC’s huge monthly output across a range of verticals (over 1,000 per day in July) helps ensure their strong position.
The New York Times are now very close to breaking the 3 million tweet mark – could August be the month that they do it? They had several stories in the top tweeted list for July, their strongest being a Paul Krugman opinion piece titled ‘Killing the European Project‘, that was tweeted almost 20,000 times.
One notable entrant to the top ten last month was Business Insider. They jumped from 16th in June (851,000 tweets) to 10th in July (1.1 million tweets). Fox News also complimented their strong performance on Facebook in July by rising from 14th to 9th on Twitter.
Elsewhere, Billboard make it back into the top 25. Interestingly, they would have been right up there in fourth spot if we counted the tweets on their ‘Fan Army‘ competition. It had over 1,000,000 tweets, and isn’t the firs time that we’ve seen competitions like this get huge engagement on Twitter, mostly because they’re targeted at influential Twitter accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers. As it directs to a poll rather than an actual story though, we don’t count those tweets in Billboard’s overall total.
Bloomberg maintained their top 25 position in July, and conservative news site Breitbart made the jump into the big leagues, mirroring their recent rise on Facebook.
Top Stories Tell Their Own Story
The top three overall most tweeted stories of the month are an intriguing smorgasbord of interests across Twitter, and illustrate the range of stories that get traction in a given month.
First, NASA’s article on the discovery of a ‘bigger, older cousin to Earth’, on their website was tweeted almost 60,000 times.
— NASA (@NASA) July 23, 2015
Of course, the NASA Twitter account has a clear advantage over other publishers here – how many others can reveal details of a new planet in a tweet?
In second place, the Telegraph’s story revealing the identity of Cecil the Lion’s killer to be an American dentist had over 49,000 tweets. This story had huge resonance on social media, and despite breaking so late in the July, still managed to have a significant impact on the month’s data. The Telegraph’s story got a significant bump when it was tweeted by Ricky Gervais.
It's not for food. It's not the shooting, or tin cans would do. It must just be the thrill of killing. Mental. http://t.co/0fjtXoC1ML
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 28, 2015
In third place, a report on a back-patting session between musicians Skrillex and Justin Bieber on ET Online had over 34,000 tweets. It helps when one of the piece’s subjects returns the love in the replies.
Average Tweet Rate Show Mashable’s Influence
Every month, we look at the top publishers based on the total tweets they achieved in the previous week. But looking at the average tweet rate per article, we see the table transformed. Mashable is the clear winner amongst the bigger names here, with a very impressive average tweet rate of 863 per story in July. Their most popular story in July was also science and planetary-related – titled ‘Hello, Pluto: The 9-year journey to a new horizon‘. We note science and nature stories doing consistently well on both Twitter and Facebook – it’s a topic we hope to return to in more detail soon.
The sites with higher average tweet rates are having a lot of success in reaching their audience on social, and it’s interesting to see that the top three are largely focussed on targeting a younger audience. Larger general news sites disappear from the picture entirely.
This isn’t a strict ranking of all the highest average tweeted publishers in our database, but the top ten out of July’s 25 most tweeted sites.
Last week, we blogged about the news of Twitter’s proposed new ‘News Tab’, which would see related tweets, articles and headlines given a dedicated section in the mobile app. We think it’s a good idea, given that our data points to such strong interest in news on the platform.
“Twitter is an ideal platform for news publishers to build their reputation as trusted sources of information. A dedicated stream of quality content inspires engagement, interest, brand loyalty, and even click-throughs. Twitter’s current form means that the busy news hive is more or less limited to those who are already following news accounts, or go out of their way to search for specific hashtags around current events.”
This month’s rankings continue to show how those headlines are tweeted and retweeted by users – from new planets to pop stars.
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.