Publishers are seeing more competition in timelines from ads and other promoted tweets – but are managing to hold their own in our latest Twitter rankings.
In July, we saw some renewal in engagement with content on Twitter, and a wide variety in the most popular stories on the platform.
In August, things quietened down somewhat, allowing some new names to return to the top 25.
Here were the ten biggest sites during July, based on tweets of the content published during the month. Data via Spike.
(See below for full data on the top 25 publishers last month).
The BBC maintain their position, followed by the New York Times and Mashable. For all, it was a slower month than July, with the New York Times falling well back from the cusp of breaking the 3 million tweet mark for the first time, and other sites losing tweets too.
The line-up remains largely the same, but there was some switching of positions further down the line, as CNN, NBC and Business Insider fell out of the top ten.
Meanwhile, the Independent will be pleased to see their name back on the big chart, where they last appeared in June, while Fox News and ABC also climbed the rankings in August.
Elsewhere, CBS News came back into the top 25, and there was also an appearance from the Washington Post at number 24. That brings the total number of ‘newspapers’ in the top 25 Twitter publisher to seven.
One publisher with a string of hugely tweeted stories every month but not appearing in the top 25 is Rolling Stone, who had just under 400,000 total tweets for the month, on 755 articles. That indicates an average of around 525 articles per day, but their biggest story of the month was one of the most tweeted in all of August.
What’s Changing in the Timeline?
Regular Twitter users may have noticed a few changes in their timelines during August. More ads.
Twitter’s advertising goals seem to be expanding rapidly. With autoplaying video ads, expanded ad reach on mobile, and the rolling out self-service ads in 180 new countries, ads seem to to be taking up ever more space in timelines. From promoted accounts, to app downloads and email subscriptions, content producers have more competition for attention on Twitter than ever before.
That’s what makes the enduring appeal of many of the most tweeted news stories on the site so interesting. Amongst the increasing competition for space, the publishers that continue to harness Twitter’s ability to drive brand awareness, engagement and referrals will be the ones with the most sophisticated social strategies.
The Relationship Between Followers and Tweets
It’s interesting to note the power of some of the main Twitter accounts. Looking at some of the most tweeted stories of the month, we can see that the number of retweets from main accounts varies hugely. Mapping the biggest follower-ships on the flagship accounts, the top ten’s picture looks a little different.
Yahoo, the Independent and the Guardian all seem to punch above their reach, having a comparatively high tweet-to-follower ration, while the astronomical numbers on the @nytimes and @BBCBreakings accounts might suggest that they could achieve higher numbers than they already are.
However, what’s hard to get a full handle on here is the extent of bots on Twitter. Bots aren’t a new issue on the platform, but they continue to cause trouble when looking Even Hillary Clinton can’t escape – her official account is estimated to be followed by one million bots.
But looking through the most recent followers of the @BBCBreaking account, it’s clear that they’re still a significant force (even if they’re constantly being taken down and recreated). That’s something that social media editors have to factor into their analysis – although it remains a challenge.
Where the Data Comes From
All the data comes from Spike, our content discovery platform. You can now easily spot the stories that are over-performing on Twitter and Facebook in real time – sign up for a free trial today to check it out.
Here are the top 25 for the month, ranked by total tweets of content published during August. 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.