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The top publishers on Facebook in May 2019


By   |   June 21st, 2019   |   Reading time: 4 minutes Digital Journalism

Social Media, Social Media analytics

Which publications drove the most engagement on Facebook in May 2019? We looked at the data to find out.

It’s the middle of June, and that means it’s time to stop and take a look back at what did websites performed the best on Facebook in May 2019.

As ever, we are using our API to gather these rankings, the methodology of which you can read about on our developer hub. 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.

Here are some of the highlights from May:

  • CNN rose once more to the top of the rankings, driving 46 million engagements
  • The BBC dropped to fourth from its perch on top of the rankings last month
  • The New York Times rose into the top three for the first time in 2019

Let’s look a little deeper.

The top publishers on Facebook in May 2019

CNN has reclaimed its crown as the most engaged publisher for the month of May, with some 46 million engagements.

This put it well ahead of its nearest rival at the top of the rankings, Fox News, who drove just under 40 million engagements. It did mark an increase of around 4 million for both publishers, however, as compared to their numbers from April 2019.

While the New York Times normally hovers at just under 30 million engagements per month, this month they smashed through that barrier, garnering 36 million engagements, pushing it above 30 million for the first time this year. And having had a stellar month in April that saw it top the rankings, the BBC got around 4 million fewer engagements this month, seeing it drop back down to fourth in our rankings.

This is perhaps unsurprising given that a couple of viral stories, the Notre Dame fire and the very first image of a black hole being released, combined to drive more than 5 million engagements in April, so really what we are seeing is a return to normalcy.

For CNN, there was no breakout top story, with all of the top ten garnering in the high hundreds of thousands of engagements, but never rising above a million. Thematically, the focus was on politics, education, and shootings at Virginia Beach and elsewhere. All of the top ten stories CNN published in the month of May fell into one of these three buckets.

Fox had a high focus on politics and religion, as well as law enforcement, and again saw no story break a million engagements. The New York Times was different in this, as their story on Trump’s tax figures drove nearly twice as much engagement as any other story. Lots of the engagement was driven by politics, but there were a couple of notable exceptions, with the deaths of the architect I.M. Pei and cultural phenom Grumpy Cat both featuring in the top ten most engaged articles for the Gray Lady in May.

But what about the top articles more generally in May?

The top articles of May 2019 on Facebook

The top article of the month came from Healthy Food House, and was about a pink dolphin giving birth to a pink calf in Louisiana.

There was also a heavy focus on the military, with Memorial Day in the US driving a lot of engagement as fallen soldiers were remembered in various tributes, as well as some preview memorial content for the anniversary of D-Day, which came at the start of June.

The vast majority of the top stories this month actually came from digital native publishers, though this dominance was disrupted somewhat by legacy media outfits such as the BBC, the New York Times, and People Magazine.

Again, following last month’s pattern, there were slightly fewer political stories and more of the viral story type in the top fifteen stories last month.

The top 25 publishers on Facebook in May 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.

Notable publications include CNN and the New York Times, for their high total and average engagement, though this is also true of the likes of NBC News, which had the highest average engagement for a legacy publisher.

The Daily Wire and The Lad Bible are largely untouchable in terms of the sheer number of engagements they get vs. the actual amount of content posted though, with both driving more than 18 million engagements with only slightly more than 1,000 stories posted.

The Guardian is beginning to establish itself as a leader in engagement in the English-speaking world, consistently finding itself in the top ten and inching closer to the top five based on the last few months of rankings.

Risers this month include the likes of The Independent and USA Today, while comicbook.com entered the top 25 this month, while digital natives UNILAD and Delish both dropped out this month.

Want to build your own list of the top publishers on Facebook? Take a tour of NewsWhip Analytics.

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