After a boost in March, many of the top sites on Facebook saw slight declines in their overall interaction counts in the news feed in April.
After seeing a rise in engagements with content for publishers on Facebook in March, April’s numbers show a slight drop-off in engagements for many publishers.
Here’s what we noticed this month:
– Despite declining interactions on their ‘owned’ content, the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed retain their lead at the top,
– News sites including the Guardian and NBC improved their positions during April,
– Strong growth in engagement for Indian sites indiatimes.com and The Quint.
These were the ten biggest sites, ranked by shares:
While the Huffington Post and BuzzFeed still remain ahead on overall engagements, NBC’s gain in shares will be encouraging news for publishers looking to see increases in their engagement over the next few months.
NBC have been a consistently strong performer in our rankings, helped by their huge network and output. But this is the first time in a long time that they’ve overtaken Fox News to take third place overall (see below).
Another strong performer was the Guardian, who increased their share count by almost 200,000 since March. They came out as the third most shared site for the first time, ahead of last month’s bronze medallists, the New York Times.
As we noted in our recent analysis, the Guardian’s opinion content performs strongly each month across Facebook. April was no different. Their most popular stories on Facebook follow on in that vein.
Elsewhere, BuzzFeed’s entertainment listicles and quizzes still attract much of the monthly engagement for the site. Five of their top ten most shared stories were list-based, with another four being made up of interactive quizzes, showing that both formats have a lot of staying power for certain audience on Facebook.
LittleThings.com grew their shares by around 66,000, and because of fall-offs from other sites, that was enough to bring them from tenth to eighth on the most shared chart.
Fox News, the Daily Mail and the Washington Post all saw slight declines in their total shares in April. Closing out the top 25 overall are three more traditional news publishers from the US, UK and Canada.
Indian Sites grow their engagements
In the overall rankings (looking at total engagements of Likes, Comments and Shares), indiatimes.com had a very successful month, climbing to sixth in the rankings overall, and not managing to lose any of their March engagements. The site is part of the Times of India group, and is aimed at young, mobile-connected Indians.
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The vast majority of the site’s engagements in April were Likes, indicating high news feed activity, but there’s a lot of genuine engagement on their main Facebook page, and their brand appears to be growing strongly. India Times also run Instant Articles, which could make a crucial difference in a mobile-first market like India’s.
Further down, another notable entry to the top 25 is The Quint. The Quint is a mobile-first site that launched in early 2015, with Facebook at the heart of its distribution strategy.
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Engagement rate decline felt by all
There’s no doubt that there’s a continuing decline in engagement amongst the biggest sites is an issue. These rankings are looking at engagement with website content in a given month only, and don’t include engagements on native video or images.
For the past few months, it’s more likely that you’ll see an auto-playing native video go viral rather than a story from a website.
Despite this, there’s been a slow-down in engagement with links and other content for a broad range of sites, leading to decline in the monthly totals we record in these rankings. We’ll be taking a closer look at this development on the blog shortly.
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These were the top 25 sites last month, ranked by total engagements on stories published in April. These numbers count all Facebook engagement on these sites’ links in April, including shares from publisher pages, copy-and-paste shares, and use of social sharing buttons on the websites themselves.
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 let us know.