How do top publishers drive comments on Facebook and Instagram?

February 22, 2018

Written by NewsWhip
social media monitoring instagram engaged audiences

With more social platforms emphasizing meaningful engagements, we explored which publishers have the most actively commenting audiences on Facebook and Instagram.

And the changes roll on. It’s clear from the upheavals across the platforms this year that publishers and content creators need to diversify, focus on building out meaningful relationships with their readers, and stay abreast of trends as they arise.

Yesterday we noted that publishers have seen a slight decline in their web engagements over the past month. This is positive for publishers — content is still sharable, and there is a direct intent from your readers, as opposed to being surfaced by the whims of the algorithm.

With news feed content from Facebook pages going from 5 percent to 4 percent, we decided to dig into which publishers and brands are still thriving, all on their own.

So, which publishers and brands have the most commented Facebook and Instagram accounts?
On Facebook, viral publishers like UNILAD, the LAD bible, and VT get followers talking, while on Instagram, more niche publishers like the Shade Room, Worldstar Hip Hop, and 9gag have the chattiest followers.
To dive a little further, we used NewsWhip Analytics to:

  • The top commented publishers and brands on Facebook and Instagram
  • Which of those see the most comments per post
  • The tactics that get users commenting

Let’s take a look at the data.

Which Pages drive the most comments on Facebook?

When we looked at the top Facebook Pages which are creating original content and driving actual, non-spam comments, the Pages that focus on relatable memes drove the most comments in January 2018.

social media analytics Facebook comments
Viral, light-hearted publishers UNILAD and the LAD bible are pretty consistently on the top of our charts. In the comments, some users simply tag a friend or state their emotional response, but others share personal stories and opinions on the content matter.

Check out these comments from a Student Problems post:

Beyond the viral publishers, three news-focused publishers also continue to drive significant comments: Fox News, the Daily Mail, and Breitbart. Food publishers like Delish, Food Envy (powered by the same publisher behind VT), and BuzzFeed Tasty all featured as well.

Interestingly, the SPORT bible, Student Problems, Pretty 52, and Breitbart all saw their comments in January outpace the number of shares they drove.

What about news publishers specifically? We took a look at how these publishers are driving comments, post-algorithm.

news social media analytics Facebook comments
Fox News outpaced the other news publishers quite significantly, with 5.6 million comments in January. Last week, we noted Fox News had the most commented posts of the month.

Opposing Views, which is supposed to be a nonpartisan look into current events, actually drove 2.7 times the number of comments than shares in January.

As we’ve seen before, niche publishers also did well. HERB, the Dodo, UNILAD Gaming, and the GAMING bible all ranked in the top 50 as well.

But what about the highest average of comments? Rather than one or two wins, we should examine which publishers are consistently eliciting comments from followers.

social media analytics Facebook comments average
Interestingly, there is a bit of a shake-up here. Taco Bell, which had seven public posts in January, saw an average of nearly 21,000 comments per post. Apparently, the release of nacho fries is a very big deal.
It was again primarily viral publishers that made up the list here, though they were a little more nuanced. They are targeted on a specific niche, audience, or type of content, and are really delivering on that. 

Which publishers and brands drive the most comments on Instagram?  

Viral publishers again claim the most comments on Instagram (even outranking the likes of Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner), but they are more focused than their Facebook counterparts.

social media analytics Instagram comments
The Shade Room, Worldstar Hip Hop, Barstool, and Hoodclips all have more niche audiences, from pop culture to sports.

Much like Instagram’s own roots, these publishers do one thing, and they do it really well.
News publishers didn’t really rank, aside from Fox News, with more than 468,000 comments in January. Focused publishers like E! News (617,000 comments) and Complex (475,000) were more successful.
What about the publisher and brand accounts with the highest average of comments per post?

social media analytics Instagram comments average
The Instagram-native F*ck Jerry saw an incredible 21,000 comments per post in January, far exceeding the others in this list.

Again, accounts with a certain theme did very well, as did a few brands. NASA and Humans of New York, which arguably have very passionate fan followings, made the list here.
So now that we know the who, let’s dive into the why. What are the top tactics behind these publishers’ success? 

How can you get followers to comment on Facebook and Instagram? 

1. Build a sense of exclusivity and community
Who is your audience? Hone in on them and give them exactly what they want. For the top Facebook Pages and Instagram accounts, they know exactly what their audience is coming to them for. 
2. Emotion-charged storytelling
We know we’re a broken record, but the heart of social media is finding and revealing emotional or thought-provoking threads. Not everything needs to be highly emotional, but consider each social posts to be both the lede and hook of your content.
It can be simply funny or entertaining posts. For F*ck Jerry, the Instagram posts are simply humorous and relatable memes that users can comment on and tag their friends for a fun and shared moment.
jerry instagram
Or, it can be something that sticks out compared to their usual feeds, like VT’s most commented posts:
It can be something that sparks disbelief or outrage, particularly in the case of news publishers:

Hone in on what you want your audience to feel, and whether that makes sense for that particular platform. Incendiary Instagram content is less successful, for example.

3. Make it visual
We’ve noticed on Instagram that posts that show an emotional expression will often do well.
While Instagram is visual by nature, we noted last week that the most commented posts on Facebook tend to be video. Our theory is that users watching a video are already spending more time with it, so they may be more likely to comment.

4. Actionable content encourages comments
Whether it’s a how-to video or a recipe, we see food publishers racking up the comments. Comments often come from users tagging others to try out the content, or sharing their own iterations.
buzzfeed tasty comments
Though for BuzzFeed Tasty, its most commented posts often are those that are most outrageous.

5. Experiment with emoji
If a picture is worth 1000 words, we’re not sure how many an emoji is worth. Despite this, many of the top-commented publishers use emoji quite liberally in their captions.

6. Ask a question

It seems obvious, but just asking your followers for their opinion is a great way to promote discussion. You want to stay away from engagement-bait, but genuine and interesting questions do well.

7. Understand the trends that do well

Keeping a pulse on the topics that matter to your audience is also important. You may be able to ride the wave of a great trend — as long as you do it in a way that makes sense for your audience.

This is a slightly unfair example, as Harry Potter is often a popular choice.  

What to remember

Let’s recap.

  • Viral publishers drive the most comments on Facebook and Instagram
  • Niche publishers, in particular, are great at sparking comments
  • Content that shows a relatable experience gets users chiming in and tagging others

Social media is intended to be social, so view it as so. Publishers are becoming more hands-on, interacting with users and giving them context or additional content within the comments themselves.

It’s worth looking at each platform, and understanding your segment of audience that lives there and strategizing for what they crave from you.

To see what’s driving the conversation across the web, Facebook, and Instagram right now, take a free trial of NewsWhip Spike.

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