Facebook reactions image

Facebook Publisher Rankings: The Most Love’s, Haha’s, and Wow’s


By   |   January 19th, 2017   |   Reading time: 5 minutes Digital Journalism

As Facebook Reactions become more sophisticated, we look at the publishers driving the highest numbers of Love, Ha-Ha, and Wow reactions. 

Facebook Reactions rolled out globally almost a year ago. We’ve seen Reactions usage rise as time has gone on, and Facebook has experimented further with the feature, introducing temporary seasonal or celebratory reactions.

Fox News CNN Reactions Facebook

Facebook reactions have increased on these publisher pages, from the 10 percent (Fox News) and 12 percent (CNN) that we saw in late April and early May.

Clicking a Facebook reaction instead of a simple Like signals a deeper level of intent, as it takes longer to pick a reaction than to simply like a post.

With NewsWhip Analytics, we can drill down into the granularity of Facebook reactions, to see which publishers are eliciting the most emotions from their followers. We decided to analyze three: Love, Ha-Ha, and Wow.

For this analysis, we looked at English-language publishers, as opposed to brands, public figures, or other pages.

Publishers with Most Love Reactions

First, we looked at the Love reaction. Previously, we’ve considered the use of Love reactions to signal a deeper, more intentional version of Like.

Facebook Love Reactions

The data above comes from NewsWhip Analytics – click to learn more

Both UNILAD and the LAD Bible featured predominantly for top Facebook publishers that invoke a high number of Facebook Reactions. They made all three of our rankings for Love, Ha-Ha, and Wow reactions.

The top ten of Love reactions were a mix of digital natives and traditional publishers, news sites and interest-focused pages. Both UNILAD and the Dodo drove over 3.5 million in the month of December 2016 alone.

loved stories Facebook

It’s interesting to note here that the most loved posts from publisher pages are almost all videos. Videos take a longer time to consume, so there’s more time for a user to pick a more nuanced reaction, rather than scrolling by and tapping just the like button.

As we can see from this list, positive content tends to drive more Love reactions. Even “bro-focused” sites like the LAD Bible and UNILAD made the top ten for their philanthropic videos. These are all generally human interest stories as well, showing that people resonate deeply with this kind of content.

The most Love reactions on a post came from the Dodo, with over 318,000 Love reactions.

Looking at all of the Dodo’s Facebook engagements for December, the Love reaction alone accounted for 12 percent of engagements. When we take out shares and comments, Love reactions made up nearly 20 percent of likes and reactions.

Publishers with Most Ha-Ha Reactions

Which publishers are the funniest? There are many ‘viral’ pages on Facebook that “recycle” content and memes from other platforms and sources, but we discounted those in lieu of looking at publishers who produce original content.

funny publishers Facebook

Again, UNILAD and the LAD Bible topped the chart, leaving a big gap between themselves and the remaining top seven.

Sports and political publishers featured in the funniest list, both focuses that invoke passion in their readers. A more niche publisher, Scary Mommy, rounded up the top ten list. The tongue-in-cheek parenting publisher boasts an engaged audience of 2.6 million on Facebook. 

funny stories Facebook

Again, the LAD Bible and UNILAD feature predominantly, for content quite different than what placed them on the Love list. The Daily Mail and CollegeHumor also made the top ten.

The top ten funniest posts again were almost all videos. Only one, from Fox News, was an external link. The story about an NFL athlete was also the only content in the top ten that wasn’t intentionally comedic.

As we saw above, sports, politics, and other topics that are already heated, can drive strong emotions on social. But in this top content list, we see that the top posts are either pranks or things that make viewers go “me too” such as The LAD Bible’s “2016 The Movie” and the Daily Mail’s video about revenge on a rude driver.

Publishers with Most Wow Reactions

There are considerably less Wow reactions for our top ten pages than there were Love and Ha-Ha reactions.

Wow Publishers Facebook

General news publishers made up half the list, squarely behind UNILAD and the LAD Bible. Beyond these, more narrowly focused publishers like Architecture & Design and National Geographic drove high Wow reactions.

Bored Panda, which made our most recent rankings of top sites on Facebook, wrapped up the top ten.

For publishers seeking to thrill or awe their audience, the Wow reaction can be an important metric. It shows what’s really getting readers’ attention, like National Geographic’s content on the top ten Wowed posts of December list.

wow facebook stories

The stories with the most Wow reactions in December were a bit more varied than the positive stories we saw for the Love reaction, and the humorous videos we saw for Ha-Ha.

Wow seems to be used for a few purposes, not only for content that may be awe-inspiring, but content that shocks or surprises the audience as well. KIRO 7 News, which featured in our recent Facebook Live trends roundup, saw over 37,000 wow reactions for the shocking news of Debbie Reynolds’ passing.

Others on this list saw substantial Wow reactions for an interactive purpose. Both Goal.com and BuzzFeed used the Wow reaction to prompt their audience to ‘vote’ on a question via picking a reaction.

BuzzFeed in particular combined this tactic with a Live video, turning voting into a live interactive experience. The versatile uses of reactions here is something to remember, as an easy way to both drive audience engagement, and to gather feedback on what followers care about.

Analyzing the sentiment your content drives can reveal useful insights. For publishers, Reactions can be a sign of if your content is hitting its intended mark or sparking emotion in an unexpected way.

It could be beneficial to look at the Reactions each format of your content drives, as well as the Reactions that your competitors receive. Reactions present a direct look into just how your content can make your readers feel.

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