The top engaging Facebook videos of April 2017


By   |   May 10th, 2017   |   Reading time: 6 minutes Digital Journalism

social media monitoring, Facebook video

As Summer 2017 approaches, we take a look into how news publishers are using Facebook video to reach and engage with their audiences on the platform. 

In spite of recent news controversies, Facebook video continues to be a format that the platform isn’t backing down from anytime soon. A staggering 3,000 moderators were just hired to watch out for inappropriate or violent videos on Facebook. Monetization efforts have increased through mid-roll ads now playing in the middle of videos. In addition, Facebook’s first batch of long-form original videos are rumored to appear within a month.

With these platform-driven changes, how are publishers staying ahead with their own Facebook Video production? We last looked at the Facebook Pages with the most video shares for January.

Now several months into 2017, we decided to revisit Facebook video. This time, we looked at the other metrics — such as likes, reactions, and comments — because they show an intentional action by the viewer.

So which news publishers’ Facebook Pages drove the most engagements on the platform in April? We looked at likes, shares, comments, and reactions to find the videos that prompted users to engage with the video content. The data comes from NewsWhip Analytics, our database with years of social data.

top video facebook publishers april social media analytics

As we saw with most shares for news publishers in January, the Daily Mail again is at the top of our list. CNN, AJ+, ABC News, Fox News, BBC News, and NowThis, which were all in our top ten in January, are in the top ten again. Mic, ATTN:, and Shanghaiist, also featured in January, but have now dropped below the top ten.

NowThis made the top ten list three times for separate Pages, as the publisher has successfully ‘sliced and diced’ its content into highly focused verticals.

It’s notable that ATTN: was second for video shares, despite being 11th for overall video engagements. The publisher’s Facebook Page saw 3.6 million shares in April on its videos, 77 percent of its total video engagements. For contrast, Daily Mail’s video shares made up 38 percent of its video engagements.

How many videos did these top Pages produce in April? We looked to determine if these publishers’ success was determined by sheer output of video. 

It turned out, there wasn’t a direct correlation, at least for the top five publishers’ Pages. The most videos were published by ABC News, with 216. Fox News posted 138 videos and CNN posted 119 videos. The Daily Mail, which had the most social media engagements on its videos, only posted 61, while NowThis’s main Page posted 78. Like we’ve seen before, publishers often follow two tactics to success — either posting a large quantity of content, or posting fewer, but high quality stories.

Let’s take a look at what some of the top engaging videos were.

video top facebook april 2017 social media monitoring

Videos that were science and tech-focused made the top ten list three times. We’ve seen future-related content do well before, as it gives audiences something they haven’t seen before and something out of the ordinary.

Humorous content also did well, which accounted for the Daily Mail’s videos in the top ten. Two videos tugged at viewers’ heartstrings to drive the engagement, one from Channel 4 News of an interview with a Google executive after his child passed away, and one from ABC News of a U.S. Navy Veteran reuniting with his fallen comrades.

Only one video in the top ten was focused on current events, a video from ATTN: on New York offering free tuition to four-year colleges.

We looked beyond the top ten to see what other hard news stories were driving substantial engagements.

Political videos, like one of comedians at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and one on Sean Spicer’s Holocaust comments, were in the top 30 engaging videos. The Syrian refugee crisis was also a topic of several engaging videos.

Societal issues like race and gender also tend to see high engagements, such as NowThis’s video of a little girl defending her choice to buy a black doll.

None of the top engaging videos in the top ten were Facebook Live. However, some of the most-commented videos from news Pages in April were Live video, which we’ve seen before. 

Live-streaming continues to be a priority of Facebook and other platforms, especially with Facebook’s hiring of 3,000 moderators for the feature. This in mind, we looked at which Facebook Pages saw the most engagements for their Live Video content. 

live video top facebook april 2017 social media monitoring

This is a totally different line-up than our top Facebook Pages for all video content. The only Page that made both lists, Live and non-Live, is Fox News. All of the others on this list were local news publishers.

When we looked into the top Live videos of April, these publishers are seeing success by activating their communities through live-streams around breaking news. 

live video top facebook april 2017 social media monitoring

Four of the top engaging Live videos from news Pages were about April the Giraffe giving birth to her baby. The world has been waiting for April to give birth, with Live videos monitoring her driving viral levels of engagement. 

Breaking news around crime were highly engaging, as viewers were spurred to share a video of a manhunt, and tuned into some of the grisliest stories as they were reported live last month.

Two politically-charged videos also made the top ten — one on Former President Obama’s first public remarks post-presidency, and a North Korean military march. International politics around North Korea has been a hot topic in the recent weeks. This video was published by Russia Today, Russia’s international media network that is funded by the Russian government.

Aside from those two videos from Russia Today and CNN, the other eight top videos came from local U.S. publishers.

It’s interesting to note that most of the top Live videos are hard news stories, especially compared to the content of the top non-Live videos.

Beyond the top ten, more hard news stories around breaking news and political issues drove engagements. Moments like the White House and Empire State Building lighting up in blue for World Autism Awareness Day also made for two highly engaging Live videos. And of course, more videos about April the Giraffe.

What to know for engaging videos

What can we learn about the top Facebook video trends for news publishers in Spring 2017? Let’s recap:

  • A variety of topics do well as videos, especially softer angles on hard news stories
  • Show your viewers something they wouldn’t see everyday
  • Videos that play to your audiences emotions do well, whether it’s humor or tugging at their heartstrings
  • For Live video, bring your users into a breaking news or pop culture moment that creates a memorable experience

As publishers continue to drive significant engagements for their videos on Facebook, knowing what will resonate with audiences is key to building a community and seeing success.

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