Last week we looked at the most engaged English language publishers on Facebook, and found that there is still significant engagement on linked web content on the platform for leading sites.
To get a better idea of how sites in European markets are developing, we took a closer look at the performance of sites in Germany, Spain and Italy.
The popularity of Facebook as a news source for European consumers is significant. According t0 the latest Reuters Institute Digital News Report, while instant messaging services like Messenger and WhatsApp are growing in influence for peer-to-peer news and information sharing, the Facebook news feed is still a dominant force in the spread of news online.
All the data comes from NewsWhip Analytics, our social database, with full social engagement data around sites and stories on different social networks, going back to January 2014.
German sites like BILD and Der Spiegel have traditionally performed extremely strongly on Facebook in our rankings, and have advanced social media strategies and presences on multiple platforms.
We last looked at the biggest German sites on Facebook in February 2017. Back then, we noted how many leading sites had managed to increase their engagement totals significantly since 2016.
These were the top ten sites in July 2017, ranked by total interactions on content published in that month only.
Bild maintain their leading position, breaking the 4 million engagement mark. Some of their most popular coverage of the month on Facebook included coverage of the G20 protests in Hamburg.
Welt and Focus swap second and third places since February.
One real improvement here comes from broadcaster RTL, who jump several places from February into fifth overall. They increased their engagements from 700,000 in February to more than 1.1 million in July. RTL are one of a number of major German publishers working on joining forces to create a single log-in for users across their web properties, to help get a better understanding of where their users come from, and how they can serve them more relevant content and ads.
There’s also a newcomer in ‘Promiflash’ and N-TV. Promiflash is a celebrity news website catering to the German market. The site has been around for a while, but it’s the first time we’ve noted it this high in the Facebook rankings, with over 835,000 on their web content for the month. Meanwhile, N-TV is a prominent news and business TV channel, which has over 800,000 fans on its main Facebook page, and provides a popular stream of timely news updates.
It’s important to note that these numbers are based on total Facebook engagements (shares, likes, comments and reactions) on web-based content published in July alone. The numbers don’t include engagements on native content formats such as live video.
In Spain, the most engaged sites last month were a mixed bunch of general news, sports and entertainment sites.
Compared to the other countries surveyed here, Spain is an unusual case. Three of their top ten most engaged sites are soccer publishers, including the biggest in July. These sites, including Defensa Central and Marca cover news from Real Madrid and Barcelona in minute detail, and have huge social followings. Being devoted to covering these teams solely, their hit rates for successful stores are pretty high.
It’s probable that the global popularity of the sport and teams mean that many of these engagements come from other Spanish speaking countries around the world.
Meanwhile, national news site El Pais puts in a strong performance to just about miss out on first place, with 5.86 million engagements. Many of their most popular links from their main Facebook page carried a ‘Ultima hora’ tag, signifying breaking news. It’s a tactic that may have helped reader pay a little more attention to the post.
The Spanish language version of Russian site RT also performs strongly on Spanish language timelines, with more than 4.1 million engagements to take third place overall, ahead of other national Spanish news sites.
Elsewhere, a viral site called Playground Mag has also done extremely well, with more than 2.9 million interactions.
Of the three countries surveyed for this report, Italy has the highest rate people using Facebook for news in 2017, at 51 percent. That was reflected in the engagement numbers, with some of the highest engagement numbers of our analysis being recorded.
Here were the ten most engaged Italian language sites of July.
La Republicca, a major national news site, is way out in front, with more than 9 million engagements on their July content. That figure challenges some of the sites in our top 25 English language ranking.
The site also had the most shared Italian story of the month, a news story about the death of Italian actor Paolo Villaggio, which saw around 455,000 interactions.
In second place is Il Fatto Quotidiano, a daily paper and news site with a huge social media reach. Political news is a popular topic for the site on social – their most popular story of the month was a piece about budget cuts. Also in the top ten are some familiar mass media names: TV station Mediaset, newspapers La Stampa and Il Giornale.
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