The Best Practices for LatAm Publishers on Facebook

August 2, 2016

Written by NewsWhip

Facebook is by and far the most loved social network in Latin America. Here’s how LatAm publishers can engage with their audiences. 

Latin America loves social media. According to a recent report from eMarketer, nearly 70% of the region’s internet users are on Facebook.
Recently, we looked at the top publishers in Mexico across Facebook. With the Olympics underway in Brazil and a bigger focus than ever on LatAm media, we decided to explore the best practices and content trends for some key regions and publishers in Latin America.
For this analysis, we focused on publishers from Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, and CNN Español. The publishers examined were all top publishers in their respective countries. We looked at a month’s worth of data, from June 20th to July 20th, 2016.

latam publishers bar chart

There was significant overlap for the publisher links and the native content that saw the most engagement. This seems to indicate that the same content can find success regardless of whether it’s posted directly to Facebook or to the website. Because of this, we decided to look at Facebook native content to see the trends sparking the most engagement from social users.
La Nación (Argentina) saw the biggest engagements on Facebook of the publishers we analyzed, followed by Proceso (Mexico) and CNN Español.
La Nación’s number make sense when we look again at the Latin America on Facebook report. A total 47 percent of the population in Argentina uses Facebook, above Brazil and Mexico’s 42 percent.

LatAm Articles

Despite covering a span of countries, some similar story trends make it into the top ten articles of the publishers we examined.
The top two articles, from La Nación and CNN Español were two different stories about dogs. One much more cheerful than the other, they were the only two stories from this time frame that saw over 110,000 total Facebook engagements.
Leo Messi made it into two articles, also from La Nación and CNN Español for very different stories.
Other stories were primarily about social issues, the environment, science, and human interest pieces. One story from Proceso had to do with politics.
When we broadened our scope to the top 50 articles, the trends stayed the same. About 30 percent were human interest stories, 20 percent dealt with international news, 13 percent on national news/politics, 9 percent on sports, and the remainder covered crime, culture, social issues and other topics.

Links to Publisher Content are Most Popular

Looking at the top 50 posts from these publishers, 76 percent were external links to the publishers’ websites. Videos accounted for 18 percent and photos only for 6 percent.
This is surprising given the emphasis currently on video content, and the shifts in engagement in non-video content on Facebook.

top video LatAm

Three of the top five videos came from CNN Español. Again, the videos covered a variety of topics. La Nación used straight footage of Leo Messi, while El Comercio (Peru)’s top video followed some of the formatting trends we’ve seen with grab-your-attention videos from publishers like UNILAD.

Compassion for Canine Companions

One content theme that sees engagement across borders is stories about animals, and this prevails in Latin America as well. As we saw, the very top two stories from our publishers were about dogs.
[fb_pe url=”″ bottom=”30″]
La Nación’s story about a dog with cancer being taken on a vacation by his owner was the top story. It saw over 34,000 shares, 2,300 comments, and 105,000 likes/reactions.
CNN Español’s story about an abused dog saw equivocal engagements. It was shared over 67,000 times, with 3,300 comments. There were 48,000 combined likes/reactions, and understandably, over 11,000 of those were the Angry reaction.
Dogs are also a big draw for El Comercio (Peru), with an article on Peru celebrating the day of the dog coming in third for the publisher with over 31,000 total engagements. 

Want to see more puppy stories? Take a free trial of Spike to see the animal stories going viral. 

Provocative Articles Spur Comments

La Nacion had double the amount of comments as the second most-commented publisher, Revista Proceso. With over 600,000 comments in a 30-day period, we decided to look into what got La Nacion’s readers talking.

comments LatAm

While the top commented article was CNN Español’s about the bullfighter Victor Barrio being killed by a bull (nearly 14,000 comments), 17 of the top 25 most-commented articles were from La Nación.
[fb_pe url=”″ bottom=”30″]
One striking similarity in their most commented stories, is that most of the headlines are a shocking or provocative quote that hooks the reader in. The above headline translates to “Parading these guys is like going back to kill our children”. It drove nearly 10,000 comments.  .

Reactions Reveal the Top Emotional Stories

Jumping into the Facebook reaction data, we can see which stories drove the strongest emotions.

LatAm Facebook Reactions

CNN Español had four of the top reaction stories, for Sad, Wow, Ha-Ha, and Angry. Meanwhile, La Nación had the biggest number of Love reactions, and likes for the story about taking a beloved pet on one last vacation.
In a bit of morbid humor, the story about the bullfighter being gored to death drove both the most Ha-Ha reactions.
By analyzing Facebook reactions, we can see how stories are resonating with readers. For publishers aiming to deliver a certain value (funny, emotional, thrilling), reactions can reveal what’s working. Sign up for our weekly newsletter for more social publishing tips. 

What Latin American Publishers Should Know

Despite being the same social platform, there are some noticeable differences for English-language publishers and LatAm publishers on Facebook.
While the general focus on Facebook has been shifting steadily toward video, external links are performing the best for LatAm news publishers.
For La Nación, using headlines with provocative quotes drove a large number of comments.
While not unique to Latin America, articles with dogs saw a lot of popularity, as well as human interest and social issue articles.

Take a free trial of Spike to find the LatAm Facebook posts that are driving the most engagements in real time

Data breakdown for LatAm publishers:

LatAm publishers

You might also like

Six key features for newsrooms seeking a CrowdTangle replacement

Six key features for newsrooms seeking a CrowdTangle replacement

With CrowdTangle being deprecated in August 2024, many newsrooms are seeking an alternative for their social media news gathering, multichannel audience development, competitive benchmarking and developing ideas from social media trends. I recently spoke to Chris...


Related articles

The NewsWhip Note

Regular updates from the NewsWhip team on the crises, trends, and stories that are resonating with the media and public around the web.