What business and finance publishers drive the most interactions on Facebook? We take a look at the biggest sites in September 2018. 

How can publishers reach their business-focused audiences where they’re already spending time? Our analysis found that Facebook is a competitive field for business and finance sites.

For many of these sites, it’s no longer just business. We see technology and innovation news rolled up into business coverage. Politics has become inseparable from the top business stories of the day, as we’ll see below. Because of this, business publishers are well-placed to reach a high-value audience for all of their news needs in the digital space.

Using NewsWhip Analytics, we took a look at the business-oriented sites with the most Facebook engagements (likes, shares, comments, and reactions) on the articles they published in September 2018. 

The top business publishers on Facebook 

Here are the top ten, based on total Facebook engagements for September:

Top 10 Business and Finance Sites Facebook 

(Ed: Due to a syndication issue with finance.yahoo.com, we’ve left them out of this ranking.)

The top business publishers are all traditional business and finance outlets. Business Insider drove 5.1 million engagements in September, followed by Bloomberg at 4.7 million Facebook engagements.

Of the top 10, half were strictly business publishers. The other half were broader publishers that have business and finance verticals: the New York Times, USA Today, the Guardian, CBS News, and CNN.

We last looked at this data in September 2016, where Business Insider, CNN Money, and the Wall Street Journal were the top ranking business publishers. Back then, Business Insider and CNN Money both drove more than 4 million engagements to their content.

Below, we show 2018’s metrics in light blue, and 2016’s in the darker color:

Top 10 Business and Finance Sites Facebook 2016 2018
Looking at the data from NewsWhip Analytics, we can see there have been some significant changes. Business Insider retains its #1 spot from two years ago. Bloomberg and CNBC both shot up from roughly 1.2 million Facebook engagements two years ago.

The Guardian, USA Today, Forbes, and CBS News all improved their engagements in the past two years. This is remarkable given the impact of the 2018 Facebook algorithm shift on publishers’ distribution efforts.

The Wall Street Journal dipped by about 700k engagements, but still had an impressive placing at #5, despite its paywall.

After years of testing, the publisher has finetuned its paywall to bend to the individual reader. This means that non-subscribers are given a score that indicates how likely they’ll be to subscribe. The paywall adjusts accordingly, becoming tighter or looser. Essentially, reader activity shapes how many Wall Street Journal articles they can sample.

This was the most shared Facebook post for WSJ in September.[/caption] As we noted in March, the audience potential afforded to paywall and subscription-based sites on social distribution channels now seems to be on the rise.

Arriving at a ‘subscribe to read more’ pop-up can be an offputting user experience for those clicking through from social. Publishers have combatted that effect by ensuring that social readers can interact with articles on social channels, while having the opportunity to be exposed to wider subscription options. 

What are the top business stories on Facebook? 

When we ranked these publishers’ September content by total Facebook engagements, a few trends immediately popped out. The themes are as follows: politics, social responsibility, and innovations.
The influence of politics on business is clear in each of the top ten articles.

Top 10 Business and Finance Sites Facebook articles
Nike’s politically-charged Kaepernick campaign appeared for half of the top ten stories. Other stories were about the U.S. deficit and a student loan lawsuit.

Beyond the top ten, we saw these themes repeat around other timely topics: the opioid crisis, gender and race issues, and more around student debt.

A good deal of the top stories focused on brands acting as socially conscious citizens. The article below drove more than 128k engagements on Facebook:
the guardian coffee cups socially conscious
Beyond Nike’s activism, other stories had to deal with sustainability and pollution, and employee welfare. An article about Amazon raising its employees’ wages appeared several times in the top content.

According to Edelman’s recent 2018 Earned Brand Study, 64 percent of consumers make purchasing decisions based on where companies stand on societal issues, up from 50 percent in 2017.

A third theme emerged around innovation and tech brands: what the largest tech brands were up to, as well as investments into new spaces, such as cannabis.

Of course, social media metrics aren’t created equally. We noticed that explainers and relevant articles tend to drive a bigger percentage of shares, as shown below.
Facebook shares business content
Meanwhile, politics and opinion pieces drove a higher percentage of comments for business content in September.  

What to know about business content on Facebook

So what are these publishers doing right?

Business Insider has expanded its offerings over the past few years into tech, lifestyle, and general interest. It has built a strong following on the social platforms and continues to expand into OTT, more geographical verticals, and new subscription offerings.

Though not all of their content is business-related, especially across the INSIDER brand, their audience is generally business-oriented.

Our data showed that many of Business Insider’s most popular web articles on Facebook in September were related to smartphone coverage, many of which come from their ‘Tech Insider’ vertical.

On the publisher’s Facebook Page, a post about horseshoe crab blood went viral and drove 21 million views:
business insider crabs
Meanwhile, Bloomberg and CNBC both saw enormous jumps on their engagements from two years ago.
In an interview in 2016, Bloomberg CRO Paul Caine said that the media company sees social media as another way to connect with their high-value audience, without losing sight of the value of their owned channels.

Facebook Bloomberg
Beyond Facebook, Bloomberg is transforming its Twitter network TicToc into its own media brand, one that’s aimed at a younger audience and reports on general news topics.

There is some competition on the Facebook platform. When we looked at Facebook Pages, we saw that digital natives like Cheddar and NowThis Money appeared. Bloggers and influencers also vied for engagements.

Facebook pages business
Cheddar took the top spot, with its Facebook posts driving an average of 8,851 engagements each in September. Its top posts tended to be focused on innovation, a strategy that the publisher told us more about here.

As publishers continue to vie for attention across different channels, knowing the right content for the right platform is key.

Check out our latest report here to learn more of the strategies that publishers are using to keep ahead of the Facebook algorithm.


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