Who were the most engaged publishers for the month of December 2019? What were the top articles for the month? We took a look at the numbers to find out.

December is often a slow month for news, and this was somewhat true last month too, though engagements did not slow down much comparatively for the top publishers. While there may have been a slight drop toward the end of the month, the rest of the month still saw fairly solid engagement, with some publishers even seeing a rise compared to November.

A note on methodology before we begin. We use 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 December: 

  • The Daily Mail remained at the top of the table for the second month in a row
  • Fox News reclaimed third place from The Guardian
  • Engagement for many news publishers was down, though this is not abnormal given the holiday season

Now let’s look at the data for December. 

The top publishers of December 2019

Remarkably consistent when compared to the previous month, The Daily Mail was top of our rankings once again to close out 2019, with almost exactly the same amount of engagements in December as they had in November. 

CNN maintained second place while slightly increasing their engagement numbers, and Fox climbed back into third, also garnering more engagements than in November. 

Histogram showing the top ten publishers ranked by engagement for December 2019

Daily Mail’s engagement was driven by a broad range of stories, from the political to safety warnings, to news from the bushfires in Australia. The top article, at 2 million engagements, explained why koalas could not simply be rehomed after being rescued during the fires. The publisher also saw engagements for stories on Juice Wrld’s death, smart TVs being hacked, and reporting on scientists calling for a ban on glitter. 

CNN’s first and third most engaged stories were both about the impeachment of President Trump, with one news article and one opinion piece, the latter of which received over a million engagements. There were also some lighter stories for the publisher, such as their second most engaged article, about a child’s whole class turning up for his adoption hearing. 

Fox was more political, with a sprinkling of religion thrown in just in time for the holiday season. Their top article, which received more than 1.5 million engagements, was about 65,000 college students ringing in the new year worshipping Jesus. The only other article of theirs that received over a million engagements was about pastors praying for Trump in the Oval Office amid the impeachment scandal. 

The top articles of December 2019

The top article of the month, and indeed one of the top articles of the year, actually came from a LinkedIn article asking followers never to apologize for being a strong woman. This piece by Andrea Heuston received more than 5 million engagements on Facebook, and was well ahead of any other article last month. 

Chart showing the 15 most engaged articles on Facebook in December 2019

One thing to note before moving further, we did remove from this analysis individual articles that were merely screenshots of quotes or contained no text, as those were shared widely moving into the New Year but do not say much about successful writing online. 

There were still a number of viral stories in the mix, such as “Hang Out With People Who Fit Your Future”, but these did fit our criteria of having meaningful numbers of words behind the viral title, as opposed to just quote cards. There were also some year-end roundups among the top articles, including Bored Panda’s rendering of all the good news from 2019. 

Beyond these though, there were some hard news stories too, including the fires in Australia, news of Trump’s impeachment, and Christianity Today’s call for the President to be removed from office entirely following that impeachment vote.

The top 25 publishers of December 2019

Below are the top 25 publishers of December 2019, ranked by engagement and compared with the number of posts published. 

Chart showing the top 25 publishers ranked by engagement for December 2019

There were slightly fewer British publications in the top 25 this time around, though there was a rise in sites such as Powerful Mind, Higher Perspectives, and Wake Up Your Mind, all of which drove millions of engagements despite having very few posts. 

Among the top ten, The Sun continues to establish a presence as a regular member of the group, alongside The Guardian now as one of the most engaged English publishers in the world. The Mirror also makes the top fifteen this time around.

If you would like to recreate rankings like this, check out NewsWhip Analytics.

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