Who were the top web publishers of December 2018 on Facebook? We dived into the data to find out.

It’s time to officially close out 2018 with our final monthly rankings for the year. If you’re interested in what did well more generally in terms of content in 2018, you can check out our post on that here, which contains all of the top stories across the web for the calendar year.

Here though, we’re going to stay true to form and focus solely on the month of December, and which publishers came out on top amongst their peers.

Some top-line insights first:

  • Fox News regained the top spot in December
  • The Daily Mail bounced back up the rankings to claim the number two spot
  • Overall engagements were down slightly on November’s numbers

Now let’s get to the data.

The top publishers

As always, this analysis includes English-language content from publishers, ranked by Facebook likes, shares, and comments to their web content. Additionally, these rankings do not include media natively uploaded to a Facebook Page, such as a Facebook video.

This month, Fox News reclaimed the top spot after a few months away, with almost 32 million total engagements.

The Daily Mail leaped back up the rankings to claim second position with some 27 million engagements, while the BBC took third with around 25 million engagements.

This marked a slightly lower engagement than we have seen in recent months, both in terms of the very top publishers being slightly lower in their engagement numbers, and in terms of the top 25 overall.

Where in November no publisher in the top 25 garnered fewer than 10 million engagements, in December three of the top 25 didn’t quite make it to that eight-figure mark.

Of note is the fact that the Daily Wire jumped to fourth in the rankings, above such institutions as The New York Times, thanks to its focused concentration on political content.

Fox’s success was also driven by political posts such as news that President Trump had cancelled the Christmas party for the press, which drove more than 630,000 engagements on its own, with roughly a third of them coming from Fox’s own Facebook Page.

The New York Times had the top post of these 25 publishers, with their article on Elizabeth Warren announcing her run for the US presidency in 2020, proving once again that it’s never too early to start gearing up coverage of an election that is still almost two years away.

The top stories of December 2018

The most engaged piece of web content actually came not from a news publisher, but from GoFundMe, with the campaign to give money to build a border wall doubling the engagement of anything else from the month with more than three million engagements. Unusually for a piece that drove this many engagements, around one third of the interactions came from comments, meaning that much of the engagement came from conversation around the event, rather than a simple like, reaction, or a share.

And again, the political dominated the top stories, alongside death announcements of Penny Marshall and former President George H.W. Bush, both of which drove high levels of engagement for a number of different publishers.

The top Facebook posts of December 2018

The top content natively on Facebook tends to be very different to the web articles that go viral on the platform, and this was no different in December 2018. Where web content tended to be of the more serious genres -politics, death, and the like, Facebook was much more about fun, visual content that is educational, amusing, or inspiring

The top Post came from Rainy Days, with a native video about palm art with a puntastic title that drove 2.5 million engagements.

In terms of the top ten, the top posts natively on Facebook did not drive as many engagements as the top web link, but the top ten collectively drove more engagements than the top ten web links did, with all of the top ten driving over a million engagements.

The top 25 publishers of December 2018

In the chart below you can find the top 25 publishers on Facebook ranked by engagements to their web content. Alongside the engagement is the total number of articles published by the publisher. Of particular note this month are The Daily Wire, UNILAD and The Lad Bible, all of which published fewer than 1,000 articles and yet all achieved more than 15 million engagements, thanks to their loyal audiences and engaging content.

The vast majority of publishers in the list were news publishers, and more traditional ones at that, though 24/7 Sports did feature at number 17 as the only sports publisher in the list.

Despite the success of relative newcomers such as The Daily Wire, the list is still dominated by America’s more established cable news channels, as well as British institutions such as the BBC.

Want to see which publishers are 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.

Email Benedict via benedict.nicholson@newswhip.com.