The Most Engaged Business Sites on Facebook


By   |   October 18th, 2016   |   Reading time: 5 minutes Digital Journalism

What business-focussed sites get the most engagements on Facebook? We look at the business sites with the most engagements in September 2016. 

For business publishers, tapping into readers’ daily workflows often means reaching them in the office, through email, LinkedIn and other professional-oriented channels.

Despite this, Facebook is very much an extremely important avenue of engagement for these sites. As our new analysis found, it’s also quite a competitive field, with sites in the top ten vying closely with each other for engagements.

For many business sites looking to appeal to social media readers, strict business news isn’t all they offer. Increasingly, tech coverage is being folded into business sections, and political news is never too far away from the interests of their target audience. For these reasons, business publishers command a high value audience and standard of content in the digital and social space.

We took a look at the business-oriented sites with the most engagements (likes, shares, comments and reactions) on the content they published in September 2016.

First, here were the top ten, based on total engagements for September:

The Most Engaged Business Sites on Facebook, September 2016

Note that we aren’t including the performance of native Facebook content like Live and Native videos here.

Business Insider come out on top in terms of overall engagements, with almost 4.5 million engagements on their web-based content that month. Business Insider have a strong following on various social platforms (including messaging app Line, where they have 230,000+ followers), and Facebook seems to be a more important channel for their content than some of their rivals. While not all of their content is strictly business-related (‘12 amazing kitchen gadgets under $65 that will transform your breakfast‘), their audience is generally business-oriented.

Our data showed that many of their most popular posts on Facebook in September were related to their smartphone coverage, many of which come from their ‘Tech Insider’ vertical.

Business Insider has grown in the UK this year, as well as other European markets, and is now the number one English language business publisher on Facebook, without counting their efforts to build a distributed presence through their wider lifestyle-focussed Insider brand. Again, this figure doesn’t include engagements on native content such as videos, which have been extremely popular for BI so far this year.

Next, CNN Money put in a very strong showing, with over 4.1 million engagements for the month. From a social distribution perspective, CNN Money has a fairly wide distribution base, with over 5 million likes on their main Facebook page.

They had two particularly huge stories on Facebook last month, one political story involving the auto company Ford and Donald Trump (406,000 engagements), and one story on the Wells Fargo fake accounts scandal (172,000 engagements).

Paywall doesn’t harm WSJ on social

After that, the Wall Street Journal comes in third place, with nearly 3.5 million engagements during the month.

In August, the WSJ started refining its paywall to appeal more to readers coming to their site for the first time from social media. Any time that a reporter shares a link on social media, their followers and fans will be able to read the article for free. It’s part of an initiative to open their site to a wider audience by leveraging social media, without going all in.

With a hard paywall, some sites can find it tricky to appeal to a wide social audience used to getting their stories quickly and without needing to enter an email address or card details.

Sometimes, arriving at a ‘subscribe to read more’ sign from social media isn’t the best user experience, and can sometimes be off-putting for the potential subscriber. The Wall Street Journal are looking to combat that effect by ensuring that social readers can fully engage with articles on social media, while getting the opportunity to be exposed to wider subscription options. At the same time, they remain cautious in their approach to distributed content generally.

In terms of the stories themselves, there are a lot of variance. By far the most popular WSJ story on Facebook in September was an op-ed about the merits of allowing children play outside, with over 260,000 engagements for the month.

Increased competition further down the chart

After Forbes, the remaining six sites are clustered together much more closely. There’s a drop-off of over 1 million engagements from Forbes to NPR, whose business and tech coverage sees enough engagement to put them firmly in the top ten for the month.

Further down, Quartz consistently has a number of stories in our ‘most shared’ list, with some super-viral posts often helping boost their overall engagement numbers of Facebook for the month.

Bloomberg appear with a strong showing of almost 1.2 million engagements. In an interview earlier this year, Bloomberg CRO Paul Caine said that the media company sees social media as another means of connecting with their high value audience, without losing sight of the value of their own owned properties.  

In the past year, Bloomberg have grown their social presence on Facebook and Twitter, and are now regularly seeing stories with tens of thousands of Facebook engagements every month. Here were their five biggest stories of September, ranked by total Facebook interactions:

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At the end of the top ten, the Guardian’s business coverage comes in with over 1 million engagements for the month.

Rounding out the list is the Economic Times, the business section of the Times of India. Unsurprisingly, their success is down to their minute covering of specialist Indian business markets, giving them a niche to compete against better-known global English language business sites.

What else? If you’d like to know more about any of the sites in this list, get in touch.

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