We rank the 20 US regional news sites with the greatest impact on Facebook, from the New York Daily News to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.
After analysing the top Facebook sites generally this week, we now focus in on the biggest US regional news sites on Facebook, based on their total engagements for the month.
Local news sources abound on Facebook, where they can reach their local readers at ease.
We pulled the data from our Analytics platform, which will be available to publishers, brands and agencies from February 2017. To find our more about NewsWhip Analytics’ capabilities, and sign up for an early look, head over to our new product page.
Without further ado, these were the top ten US regional news sites on Facebook in December, ranked by total engagements with the stories they published that month:
In first place is the New York Daily News, with over 4.4 million engagements in December. That figure puts them ahead of other regional news sites in the US, and much higher than many other general interest websites.
Close in second place is the LA Times, with over 4.3 million engagements during the month. Many of the LA Times’ most engaged stories during the month fell into the categories of politics and entertainment.
In third place, the New York Post scored an impressive 3.86 million monthly engagements. That included one news story that saw over 260,000 engagements in December.
After the Post, there’s around a 1.5 million engagement gap to the next few sites, all of which are bunched closely together. They’re a mix of local TV stations and newspapers, from different parts of the country.
Looking through the most engaged stories of the month from regional publishers in the US, it seems as though the appeal of strong reporting and local news resonate in Facebook news feeds.
While national political stories and breaking news events do break into the most shared stories list, the majority of top-engaged stories from the list of regional sites are based on the area that the publisher is focussing on. They stories about Illinois’s Bison population (The Chicago Tribune), and a ‘floating Christmas tree‘ in Michigan.
Regional and local news publishers are at an advantage here. Often, their reporters are the first to the scene of a breaking news story, or to uncover an issue of national or global relevance. In many cases, these stories have the potential to go viral, well beyond the reach of their core geographic areas.
Many of these pieces are old-fashioned local human interest stories, revitalised for social audiences. In the case of publishers that have a parent media company, such as ABC or NBC, there’s a possibility that those large accounts will cross-post the regional sites’ most successful stories.
One such of example of that from ABCNY7, who highlighted the story of a school bus-driver who bought a hat and gloves for a student who was cold. It was reposted to over 10 million followers from the main ABC News page, and Good Morning America.
The draw of Facebook for regional news publishers
Many regional sites have been innovating on Facebook in particular, where the potential to reach large geographic-specific audiences is great. Some have signed on to use Instant Articles, while more have been seeing significant success with Facebook Live videos.
What’s important for the publishers is that they can feel they can leverage the audience potential of Facebook, and make it feed back into their own revenue and subscription models. As all publishers know, from international to hyper-local, creating dollars out of shares can be a tricky process. However, this data shows that regional sites have gone a long way towards establishing themselves as leading social publishers in their own right.
The top 20 sites, with data
See below for the top 20 US regional sites on Facebook., ranked by total engagements on stories published in December 2016. These numbers count all Facebook engagement on these sites’ links in December, including shares from publisher pages, copy-and-paste shares, and use of social sharing buttons on the websites themselves. As mentioned above, the numbers don’t include engagement on live or native videos.
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