We looked back at the top publishers of June 2020, ranking them by their total engagement on Facebook.

June saw a slight rise in engagement overall when compared to May, but some of the top publishers reached highs never seen before in our analyses. 

Once again, 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 are some of the key takeaways: 

  • NBC News broke all of our previous records, reaching more than 130 million engagements to their web content on Facebook
  • The Daily Wire rose back up the rankings thanks to coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests
  • Overall, engagement was slightly up on May, but didn’t quite reach March highs

Let’s look at the data. 

The top publishers of June 2020 

June was a record month for a single publisher. NBC reached a new high of 135 million engagements to its content for the month, principally driven by coverage of, and engagement with, the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted in the wake of the death of George Floyd. 

Histogram showing the top publishers of June 2020, ranked by engagements

It is worth highlighting this as a truly unprecedented number from NBC News. This is some 15 percent above any previous high water mark in Facebook engagement to web publishers, and that record was only set this year by the Daily Mail. The animation below shows the evolving engagements of six of the publishers that consistently rank in our top ten in these rankings.

Gif showing top six publishers over time

As the animation shows, the growth in engagements to these websites in the last six months has been remarkable. The six publishers hovered between 15 and 45 million for almost the entirety of last year. The Daily Mail then saw a huge rise, hitting almost 100 million engagements in January and foreshadowing the huge growth all its competitors saw in the following months. 

In terms of what was actually most engaged with for the top publishers this month, unsurprisingly this was hugely driven by the Black Lives Matter protests that gripped the U.S. after the killing of George Floyd at the end of May. 

For NBC, the top ten articles all saw a minimum of 1.8 million engagements, with the most engaged receiving some 13 million engagements. The latter of these was to do with the Bayer of Washington D.C. ordering a Black Lives Matter mural painted on one of the roads approaching the White House. Eight of the ten most engaged articles for the publisher were about the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests that occurred after George Floyd’s killing. There were also two highly engaged articles on landmark Supreme Court decisions for LGBTQ employees and DACA recipients respectively.

For The Daily Wire, who were second in these rankings, the top articles were also about the protests, but framed in a very different way. Many of their top ten articles were critical of violence at the protests, and some were about statues being torn down or defaced. 

CNN’s top ten articles looked very similar to NBC’s with most being about the protests, but some being about the Supreme Court decisions and their consequences. 

But what about the top articles overall?

The top articles of June 2020 

The top articles of the month were mostly to do with the Black Lives Matter protests, with eleven of the top fifteen most interacted with articles being either about the protests themselves or the conversation about racial inequity that occurred in their wake.

Chart showing the top articles on Facebook in June 2020, ranked by engagement

The article that drove the most public interest in June was the aforementioned one from NBC about the Black Lives Matter painting on the approach to the White House. Four of the five most engaged articles came from NBC. 

The Atlantic’s printing of the statement from Jim Mattis criticizing Trump’s reaction to the protests was the only one in the top five not from NBC, garnering 6.7 million engagements. 

As we saw last month, the vast majority of top articles came from traditional news sites, in a further move away from the viral sites that were having a good deal of influence at the beginning of this year. 

The top 25 publishers of June 2020 

These were the top 25 publishers of June 2020, ranked by total engagement and also by number of articles written.

Table showing the top 25 publishers of June 2020 on Facebook, ranked by engagement

There is nothing of exceptional note in terms of big movers here, other than that the high number of engagements is not limited to merely the very top publishers. Even The Independent, which came 25th, saw engagement of nearly 30 million, which would have been unthinkable just a few months ago, when the average for the 25th placed publisher was less than half that number. 

One other note, we have seen significantly fewer UK-based publishers in the top publishers recently, as the US has seen a number of events that have captured public attention in an unprecedented way, from the coronavirus to the fight for racial justice and equity.

If you’d like to build these lists yourself, check out NewsWhip’s suite of products.

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.