It’s that time of the month again, where we rank the top publishers in terms of the engagement that they drive on Facebook. In March, the Daily Mail was king of the hill, but April saw a new publisher take the crown, one that hasn’t been on top for quite some time.
Once again, this is done via our API, so is related only to the domain itself, not sites included under any affiliate or subsidiary umbrella. You can read more about how we use the API to calculate our rankings here.
Before we get to the data, here are some top line insights:
- The BBC topped the rankings for the first time this year
- Fox dropped to third in the rankings
- Overall engagement was slightly down on last month
So what does the data say?
The top web publishers on Facebook in April 2019
For the first time this year, and the first time since we changed our methodology for calculating the rankings, the BBC was top of the pile, edging ahead of CNN by just 10,000 engagements for the month.
Fox News, which has been somewhat of a mainstay at the top of our rankings so far this year, dropped to third, while the Daily Mail dropped to fourth having been top in our March rankings.
There was a good deal of non-political news this month, which is something we have not seen for a while. General interest and sports stories crept into the top fifteen, and Notre Dame dominated the coverage somewhat.
The overall engagement across the top ten, and indeed the top 25, has fallen somewhat compared to last month. This could be driven in part by a relative lack of engagement to political stories, which tend to drive high engagement across the board.
The top stories in April 2019
In terms of the top stories that performed well on Facebook last month, there was a very clear theme that emerged: the burning of Notre Dame Cathedral, which featured in no less than seven of the top fifteen stories from the month, either about the event itself, or some kind of reaction or analysis of it.
This correlates with trends we have previously seen, as people engage with the sudden, unexpected loss of something or someone. This is more regularly something we see with the untimely death of celebrities, but the Notre Dame cathedral fire shows an extension of this trend, as people share their personal experiences and memories of how the building inspired them or was part of their lives in some way.
The BBC was responsible for two of the top articles for the month, with the first image of a black hole being discovered also performing particularly well for the publisher. This and the Notre Dame fire were both stories that featured heavily in other publications as well, but the BBC won the engagement race by being able to publish the stories so quickly.
Interestingly, there was only one story explicitly about politics that featured in the top fifteen stories, which represents a slight shift in coverage as compared to many of the months we have covered in the year so far.
The top 25 publishers on Facebook in April 2019
In the chart below you can find the top 25 publishers on Facebook ranked by their engagements to their web content. Also shown is the total number of articles that each website published on their platform.
The New York Times rose back into the top five, while The Daily Wire fell out of it. Lad Bible surged into the top ten from fifteenth last month, while The Epoch Times fell out of the top ten down into 18th.
Again, worthy of note are the publishers that published 1,000 articles or fewer that still managed to work their way into the top 25 here, which this month includes Delish and UNILAD. The Daily Wire and LADbible were also not far away from achieving this feat, having published 1,061 and 1,043 articles respectively, with both still managing to achieve a place in the top ten.
Traditional publishers are still dominant relatively, though appearances from digital natives such as UNILAD, Daily Wire, and Delish, among others, show there is room to succeed even if you don’t have the power of a cable news channel or traditional newspaper behind your publishing efforts.
Want to build your own list of the top publishers on Facebook? Take a tour of NewsWhip Analytics.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.