Our rankings of the most engaged Facebook publishers in February 2016, with top 25 breakdown and analysis.
2016 started with a little bit of change amongst the biggest Facebook sites.
Leaders such as the Huffington Post were pushed down slightly, and other big names made gains, such as CBS and CNN.
February’s numbers show a rebalancing of things, but there are still strong winners and takeaways from the month’s engagement.
Here were the highlights:
– The Huffington Post returns to first position in the rankings, with over 28 million engagements, as well as the most engaged story overall.
– The Guardian had a strong month, coming in at fourth most shared,
– The US election starts to make a significant impact on Facebook engagement in the feed.
The top 25 sites and their individual breakdowns are at the bottom of this post. Here were the top ten sites, ranked by Facebook shares.
The Huffington Post has regained its position at the top of the table, growing its total engagement figure by over 8 million in the month. They were helped by having February’s most engaged story, titled ‘An Open Letter to My Friends Who Support Donald Trump‘, which attracted over 1.2 million engagements on Facebook last month.
It’s also interesting to note that the Huffington Post attract by far the most comments of the top 25 sites listed. With over 4.6 million, they’re ahead of closest rivals Fox News by over 400,000.
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail slips a few spots and BuzzFeed return to a prominent position at number two.
Although they dropped in overall engagements between January and February, the Guardian ascended to fourth most shared site. It’s the highest that the site has come in the rankings in a while, and a look at their most shared stories of the month reveal a wide mix of stories, ranging from science breakthroughs to a piece on the ‘10 happiest cities to work in the UK‘.
Further down the top 25 list, Canadian broadcaster CBC make an entry at number 24. In an interview with this blog last year, a producer on their social media team, Michael Bolen, explained that the site’s appeal to Canadians:
“CBC News also has some really strong competitive advantages when it comes to social. We have newsrooms in every province in the country producing local stories that others simply don’t get. A huge number of viral Canadian stories start in CBC’s regional newsrooms.
We’re also the destination for investigative journalism in Canada. CBC News is known as an organization that asks the tough questions and breaks stories that matter to Canadians.”
Instant Articles Go Mainstream
It’s also interesting to look at the number of sites in the top 25 that are currently using Instant Articles. Based on this list from Facebook, only four of the top 25 sites in February are not already actively using the instantly-loading distribution method: Yahoo, Bollywoodlife.com, CBC and The Hill.
All of the top ten are using Instant Articles, many of them very heavily. The sites listed here are among the most successful in terms of reach on Facebook, and a consensus seems to have fully emerged, almost a year after the initial test stories were launched. We’ll be taking a closer look at the performance of Instant Articles and engagement with them in the coming weeks.
US election heats up on Facebook
And the growing coverage around the US election is making more and more of an impact in Facebook news feeds. Some of the most engaged English language stories on Facebook in February related directly to the campaign.
Evidence of the upsurge in political content in February, with its numerous candidate debates, came with the continuing appearance of political site The Hill in the top 25. We noted the Hill coming in highly placed in the December rankings too, and their new prominence seems to place them highly in the upper tier of Facebook publishers.
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