Engagements dropped slightly among the top publishers on Facebook in July compared to the previous month, with a new number one emerging.

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 from our rankings: 

  • Engagement was down across the board, with the top ten totaling 641 million, as compared to 827 million last month
  • Daily Wire rose up the rankings to first place despite its engagements decreasing
  • NBC News fell to sixth, but only saw about half the engagements as they did the previous month

The top publishers of July 2020 

Although The Daily Wire did see a slight reduction in engagements compared to the previous month, it was the conservative publisher that took the top spot in July with 99 million engagements.

Histogram showing the top publishers on Facebook in July 2020 ranked by engagement

CNN claimed the second spot with more than 90 million engagements, with Fox News not far behind in third. Last month’s top publisher NBC News fell down the rankings to sixth, but the more notable statistic was that their content drove fewer than half the engagements compared to the previous month. In June that number had been 137 million, whereas in July it had fallen to 58 million.

Though this was a particularly dramatic fall, it is worth noting that the trend was downwards across the board, with content from the top ten publishers seeing only about 77% of its June highs. In terms of raw numbers, the top ten publishers combined for 827 million engagements in June, whereas the July equivalent was 641 million.

But what did the articles look like for the publishers that drove the most engagement? 

For the Daily Wire, there were a lot of articles about how law enforcement was dealing with ongoing protests. Their top article, which received more than 1.4 million engagements, was about Dallas police arresting more than 700 protestors for blocking a highway. Other articles included takes on the arrests in unmarked vans in Portland, and police agencies withdrawing from guarding the DNC convention, all of which saw over a million engagements. In all, six of the publisher’s top ten articles were about protests or law enforcement. 

CNN was very much focused on the coronavirus, with all of its top three articles being about the pandemic. The top three of these were about hospital data bypassing the CDC, the White House blocking the CDC testifying about school reopening, and Herman Cain’s death from the disease. These articles received 3.7 million, 2.4 million, and 1.1 million engagements respectively. 

For Fox, there was a mixture of articles, with reporting on Ben Carson calling Black Lives Matter ‘a Marxist organization’, the death of Charlie Daniels, and the Goya CEO’s comments on the boycott of his company after he praised President Trump all among the ten most engaged stories, with the top article seeing 2.5 million engagements. 

So these were the articles that were successful for the top publishers, but that is not always reflected in the top articles overall. Let’s take a look at what those were. 

The top articles of July 2020

Interestingly, despite being the top publisher, The Daily Wire’s articles did not feature in the top fifteen articles for the month, with their top article falling around a million engagements short of achieving the feat. 

Table showing the top articles of July 2020 on Facebook, ranked by engagement

The top article came from the BBC, when President Trump floated a delay to the 2020 election via Twitter. This story saw almost 6 million engagements. President Trump and his administration were the focus of a good number of the top articles, with his executive order to lower insulin prices the second most engaged article of the month. 

John Lewis’s opinion piece published in the New York Times on the day of his funeral calling for people to keep fighting for what they believed in was one of the top five articles of the month.

Many of the top articles came from big, traditional publishers and dealt with politics and general news. Some exceptions included 9gag having the fourth most engaged article, and an article praising the editing in Nike’s newest ad, both of which saw more than 3 million engagements. 

The top 25 publishers of the month

In terms of the top 25 publishers, there was still a relatively high level of engagement across the board. 

Chart showing the top 25 publishers of July 2020 on Facebook, ranked by engagement

This meant that there was a similar look about the table to what we saw the previous month, with many of the same publishers making the top 25. The Guardian, HuffPost, and NPR all fell down the list slightly, while The Hill and The New York Post rose up in the rankings. Once again, the list is generally dominated by American publishers. 

If you’d like to build these lists yourself, take a tour of our product suite.

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.