South Asia and the APAC region are huge markets in terms of content production. We looked at the data to determine the most engaged publishers for those regions.

We’re back again with our rankings from around the world. We’ve been on a bit of a kick of these lately, mostly focussing on our own backyards of Europe and North America, but we thought it was about time to take ourselves out of our comfort zone a little and look at an area that is often completely excluded from our rankings due to them being exclusively English language.

So we’re headed over to look at what publishers are doing in Asia. Yes, we know it’s a varied place, and it’s impossible to boil down the essence of an entire continent to a single blog post, and we will be doing more specific country rankings in the future, but we wanted to give a sense of where the biggest publishers are based, what type of content they’re publishing, and how many engagements that content is driving.
Let’s begin with the publishers. 

The most engaged publishers in Asia for September 2018

The top publishers from Asia were really from all over the continent, but four countries dominated the list in terms of the top ten, and they were Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, and India.

The top publisher of all in terms of engagements was Chinese-language publisher ET Today, which drove a huge 37 million engagements for the month of September. Eagle-eyed followers of the rankings will have spotted that this is more than any of the English-language publishers we featured in our blogs managed to achieve in the month of September, so certainly a formidable number.

It goes just beyond ET Today though, because although there is a bit of a drop-off after that publisher, with Korean website Insight and Taiwanese publisher EBC both achieved upwards of 20 million engagements, pulling in 24 and 23 million engagements each, a level which would easily see them breaking into the top ten of our any of the publishers we have looked at in the last months.

The top five were rounded out by Philippine publisher ABS-CBN and Thai publisher Thai Rath. Despite the relatively high social usage in India, the top Indian publisher only garnered 13 million engagements, around a third of what ET Today achieved for the month.

Interestingly, it’s not simply that these publishers are publishing much more content than their English language counterparts; all of the top five are averaging more than 2,000 engagements per article, with EBC leading the group with some 7,219 engagements per article on average. So they’re publishing a lot of content, but it’s a lot of very engaging content, rather than relying on volume alone.

As far as the content of the stories itself went, much of it was light stories and clickbait, with very little hard news in the top ten most engaged articles for the month. ET Today was more on the emotion bait side in its tactical approach, with stories about adopted animals and children bravely facing up to illnesses performing particularly well for the publisher. 

So those were the most engaged web publishers on Facebook, but what about the Facebook Pages? 

The top Facebook Pages in Asia for September 2018 

In terms of the top Facebook Pages in Asia, the list was rather different looking, but equally as impressive in terms of the engagements driven.

There was significantly less Chinese-language content amongst the top Pages on Facebook, perhaps unsurprising given the platform’s struggles with censorship in the country.

The void created by this was filled by Pages from the Philippines and Indonesia, among others, with Korea and Vietnam once again having a strong showing amongst the group.

The most engaged Page for the month of September was for the publisher, a Philippine site dedicated to news for the region, which garnered almost 45 million engagements for the month.

This page did not appear in the top ten web publishes for the region, implying a lot of their strategy is based upon native content, whether that be photo or video, with direct link posting on their Page being minimal.

In second was Thai Page Single Klek, with 39 million engagements, followed by an Indonesian meme Page to round out the top three, with 27 million engagements. Indian publisher RCVJ’s Page did particularly well amongst its peers with 27 million engagements for the month, before a bit of a drop off to the others in the list here.

The format of the content was worthy of note too. Across all Asian Pages, it was photos that drove the most engagement by some distance, driving almost 50 percent of the total engagements, where video only drove 16 percent. This goes somewhat against the trends we have seen in English- language publishing we have seen recently, where video has tended to dominate.

Much of the top content on Facebook itself among Asian Pages actually came from influencers and brands, with Indian celebrities such as Virat Kohli doing particularly well.

Worthy of note was one Facebook post by Samsung India which drove well over a million engagements, which shows brands are really leaning into a Facebook promotion strategy on the subcontinent, to extremely effective results.

Want to learn more about what’s going viral right now? Take a tour of NewsWhip Spike.

Benedict Nicholson

Benedict Nicholson is the Managing Editor at NewsWhip. An Englishman in New York, he is interested in the intersection of PR, brands, and journalism, and the trends and innovation around that.

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