The most engaged sites on Facebook in June 2018 from the UK, Ireland, and Germany

August 1, 2018

Written by Benedict Nicholson

Who are the top publishers on Facebook in Europe? We looked at the data from the U.K., Ireland, and Germany to find out.

If you’ve followed our blog for any period of time, you’ll know that we regularly look at the top publishers on Facebook. In fact, we have a regular monthly rankings piece devoted just to that, and you can check out the most recent one here.

We’re aware, however, that because of the sheer size of the place and ubiquity of the internet, those numbers can sometimes be skewed towards U.S. publishers, so we decided to spread the love a little bit. With that in mind, we’ll be running a couple of blogs in the upcoming weeks to showcase content from Europe, and more specifically the U.K., Ireland, France, Spain, Germany, and Portugal.

This week we will be focusing on the U.K., Ireland, and Germany, and we’ll save a comparison of the other three for next time. So without further ado, let’s jump into some analysis.  

The biggest U.K. publishers on Facebook in June 2018 

Just as a reminder, and for context, this is what the list of top performing English language outlets on Facebook looked like for June 2018. 
Top Publishers on Facebook, June 2018
As we can see there, Fox News and CNN were well ahead of the chasing pack, with both reaching well over 30 million engagements to their content on Facebook, which no other English language publishers achieving that feat.

That chart, though, does offer some clues as to which publishers might have been successful, at least as far as U.K. publishers are concerned. The BBC and the Daily Mail both feature in the top ten overall, so it is unsurprising to learn that they also head the list of British publications in terms of Facebook engagement for June 2018.

The Daily Mail has some 25 million engagements to its web content on Facebook, while the BBC has more than 22 million. Both of these numbers are slightly higher than we saw in the previous graph, simply due to the fact that, since we are doing this analysis later, some of the articles will have had more time to accrue engagements in the intervening time period.

The two biggest publishers are also well ahead of their nearest rival, which is The Guardian, at less than half the engagements garnered by the top two. Viral publishers UniLad and Lad Bible round out the top five, with about 8 million engagements each.

This picture does change somewhat if we switch to looking at these publishers’ average engagements. In this case, there are three clear winners, in UniLad, Ladbible, and Sportbible, all of which have at least 4x the number of average engagements as any of the other top publishers.

UniLad is the runaway success in terms of average engagements per post however, with its numbers almost doubling those of even its viral rivals.

These stories tended to be exactly what you might expect of viral publishers, with amusing and heartwarming videos the order of the day, along with content that deliberately tugs at the heartstrings.
That’s the study done for the U.K.,  but what about Ireland? 

The biggest Irish publishers on Facebook in June 2018 

The engagements for Irish publications were somewhat lower, with the Irish Times being the real standout performer, and the only publisher of the group to garner over one million engagements for the month.
This was largely thanks to one story about proto-fascism around the world, which drove over half of the engagements for the month, clocking in at some 550,000 engagements.

The Irish Independent and satire site Waterford Whispers News also performed well, with Joe and RTE also getting more than 300,000 engagements on its web content.

As far as average engagements are concerned, Waterford Whispers News has no competitors amongst the biggest publishers, and we’ll see a similar story around satire for German publishers later.

The satirical website saw more than 4,000 engagements on an average post, with its nearest rivals all well under 1,000 engagements per post as a comparison point. 

The biggest German publishers on Facebook in June 2018 

Finally, we’re going to take a quick look at Germany. One thing to note about the Germans is that despite the country’s relatively large population, they have yet to take up social media, and especially Facebook, with the same proliferation that we have seen it in other parts of the world, especially the English-speaking world.

As a result, the numbers are much lower, with Bild the only publisher that would make it into the top ten in the U.K. rankings, with some 4.8 million engagements.

Beyond that one standout publisher, the rest were largely clumped somewhere between around a million engagements for the month to a high of two million, which both Welt and Focus achieved.

If we switch to average engagements for these publishers, again satire stands out, with Der Postillon, a German language humor website in a similar mold to The Onion, racking up 15x the average Facebook engagements of its nearest competitor.

Needless to say, there may be a few unknown names here, but the basic tenets of note are that hard news and satire both tend to do very well, and that’s true across the three countries we’ve looked at here.

The only difference really between the type of website that was successful was that the U.K. featured a few more ‘viral publisher’ type outlets for its light-hearted entertainment, which seems to be a niche filled more by satire, at least in Ireland and Germany.

The framing of the stories sometimes changes but politics, and especially political satire is capable of driving a huge number of engagements.

Next time, we will look at Spain, Portugal, and France, to see if there are more cross-cultural trends worthy of note, and see which publishers stood out from those countries.

Want to see which stories in particular stood out for these publishers? Take a tour of NewsWhip Analytics.

Benedict Nicholson

Benedict Nicholson

In addition to leading the NewsWhip Research Center in New York, Benedict Nicholson manages partnerships with internationally recognized media outlets furthering data journalism, which includes NewsWhip’s Data for Democracy program. Benedict also facilitates consultations with communicators from the top 10 public relations agencies across America and Europe and with Fortune 500 brands [to discuss consumer engagement trends and effective media monitoring]. Email Benedict via

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