Who were the most engaged publishers for the month of November 2019? We looked at the numbers to find out.

November closed out with some very high engagements for some publishers, and CNN was finally displaced from the top spot after its six month reign at the top of our publisher engagement ranking. 

As ever, we used our API to gather these rankings, 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, ranked by domain. Additionally, these rankings do not include media natively uploaded to a Facebook Page, such as a Facebook video.

Here were some of the highlights from November: 

  • The Daily Mail took the top spot from CNN, garnering some 48 million engagements
  • Half of the top ten publishers were based in the UK
  • Engagement was down on average for the top three, but up for the top ten 

Let’s look at the data for the month. 

The top publishers on Facebook in November 2019

We had a new publisher at the top of the rankings in November. Well, not quite a new one as they’ve been there before, but it’s the first time in six months that CNN hasn’t taken the top spot, having been displaced by the Daily Mail. 

Histogram showing the ten most engaged web publishers on Facebook in November 2019

The Daily Mail was comfortably on top of the rankings with 48 million engagements, some 10 million ahead of CNN, who did manage to maintain second place.

Fox News dropped out of the top three altogether at the expense of The Guardian, who rose up to take third place with 34 million engagements. 

But what kinds of stories were responsible for the success of the top publishers? 

The Daily Mail’s coverage was varied. The top story for the publication was about the showcasing of a smoker’s lungs by doctors, to show the damage done to the organs. This article received 1.2 million engagements. Although the Daily Mail is a British publisher, a number of the top stories were US focused, including coverage of Trump, NASA, and a shooting in California. There were also several lighter pieces, including a dog ringing the doorbell at 2am after being accidentally locked out of the house. 

For CNN, climate change featured heavily, with their top two stories of the month being about the subject, and both about Italian reaction to it. Their top piece, which received 1.6 million engagements, was about the flooding of Veneto council immediately after they voted against implementing climate change measures. This was the only article to garner more than a million engagements, however, with the second most engaged article – a piece about Italy becoming the first country to make learning about climate change compulsory – receiving some 800,000 engagements. Other stories in the top ten included international news about China and Ukraine, as well as an Arabic ‘Sesame Street’ for helping refugee children.

The Guardian, which has not featured in the top three this year so far, also saw a lot of climate news highly engaged.  The Venice floods were also covered here, as well as the reversal of a decision on fracking. The top article, however, was about the decision in Ohio ordering doctors to ‘reimplant ectopic pregnancy’, which received over a million engagements. 

But what was successful more generally across the board?

The top articles on Facebook in November 2019 

The top article in all of November came from ABC News, and was about the signing of a bill to make animal cruelty a federal felony in the US. At 4 million engagements, this received more than a million engagements more than any other article in the month. 

Chart showing the top fifteen articles on Facebook in November 2019

Other articles included pieces from non-traditional publishers. The majority of the top fifteen came not from cable news or traditional publishers, but rather from digital natives. 

Many of these articles were more whimsical in nature, including albino turtles and stray dogs keeping kittens warm.

The only article from any of the top three publishers to make the top fifteen was the smoker’s lungs from the Daily Mail, which came in at number 13 for the month. 

The top 25 publishers on Facebook in November 2019

Below is a list of the top 25 publishers for the month of November, along with the number of articles published. 

Chart showing the top 25 publishers on Facebook by engagement in November 2019

Beyond what we have discussed already, it is extremely obvious that British publishers had a particularly big month in November. It was the month before the decisive election around Brexit, which may explain some of this, but there was also a recent study showing that in terms of raw readers, many of these publishers have bigger audiences outside of the UK within it, which also makes a contribution to those numbers.

Beyond the British invasion of the charts, notable wins include Bored Panda, and the frankly astonishing success of Higher Perspectives, who saw 33 posts achieve nearly 14 million engagements. 

The Washington Post also rose above the New York Times in the legacy head-to-head, and NBC News came in at a respectable sixth in the list. 

If you’d like to recreate these rankings for yourself, check out NewsWhip Analytics.

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