We looked back at the top publishers on Facebook for the month of April 2021, ranked by their total engagement. The month saw a slight decline in engagement for most publishers and in the levels hit by the top articles, but the level of interactions did increase for some individual publishers.
As usual, 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:
- The Daily Wire dominated the rankings in April, with much more engagement than any other publisher
- The Daily Mail rose to second place in the rankings, driven by coverage of Prince Philip
- Engagement to the top ten publishers generally fell for those outside of the top two
Let’s examine the data.
The top publishers on Facebook in April 2021
There was one clear dominant force in April when it came to engagement on Facebook, and that was the Daily Wire. The publisher has regularly been at the top of the tree in 2021, but this month saw it even further ahead of the pack, with almost 2x the engagement of any other publisher in the month.
The conservative publisher also outperformed relative to its own previous levels, rising to almost 75 million engagements for the month of April compared to 58 million in March. The Daily Wire was the only publisher to rise this significantly, though other publishers did see small rises in engagement compared to their March performance. The Daily Mail, for example, rose from 39 million to 42 million month over month.
However, other publishers saw fairly significant drops in engagement last month, with Fox News falling almost 25% from 42 million to around 32 million. CNN and NBC News also saw drops of around ten percent in April compared to March, while the BBC had a bigger drop from 25 million to around 15 million.
In terms of the stories that drove the engagement for the top publications, the Daily Wire was mostly driven by political narratives. Their top piece was on Charles Barkley saying that politicians divide people to keep their grasp on money and power, which received some 825k engagements. Other top articles looked at Kevin McCarthy’s reaction to Maxine Waters’s comments on the Derek Chauvin trial, and the Iowa governor’s reaction to requests for help with housing child migrants, both of which saw more than 750k engagements. As is often the case for The Daily Wire, none of the top articles received more than a million engagements, though that is less surprising this month as only two did so overall from all of the top articles across the web.
For the Daily Mail, the top article was on an execution by ISIS in Egypt, but the majority of their top stories were about Prince Philip, either focusing on his death or retrospectives on his life. The top piece of this genre was a photo compilation of his ‘lifetime of laughter and lasting love’ which received 440k engagements. The other pieces were about the dress Kate Middleton wore to his funeral, the announcement of his death, and a story on the Queen returning to work days after her husband’s death.
For Fox News, meanwhile, the top stories focused largely on the intersection of politics and culture. Their most engaged piece was about the MLB’s All-Star Game being moved out of Georgia as a response to the state passing new voting laws. This article received more than half a million engagements, and was the only one to do so for the publisher. Other top pieces looked at embassies being allowed to fly the pride flag on the same pole as the US flag, a mayor leaving the Democrats to join the GOP in Nevada, and the Supreme Court ruling against California’s restrictions on in-home religious gatherings.
These, then, were the top stories for the top publishers, now let’s look at the top stories overall.
The top articles on Facebook in April 2021
Engagement to the top articles for the month of April was generally lower than it has been this year, with only two articles receiving more than a million engagements.
The most engaged of these came from UNICEF, and looked at how the organization was responding to the unfolding Covid Crisis in India. This piece received more than 2 million engagements on Facebook. The only other article to receive more than a million engagements came from USA Today, and looked at Donald Trump falling down the Forbes billionaire rankings by more than 300 places. The USA Today story received 1.5 million engagements on the platform.
Other top stories this month included reports of Prince Philip’s death in the BBC and Sky News, Najee Harris hosting a pizza party at the homeless shelter he once lived at just hours before being drafted by the Steelers, and the FBI raiding Rudy Giuliani’s home and office.
The Daily Wire’s pieces appeared four times among the top fifteen articles overall.
The top 25 publishers in April
Below is a chart of the top 25 publishers for April ranked by their engagement on Facebook.
The theme of lower engagements across the board continued here, with several of the biggest publishers getting fewer than 10 million engagements on the platform.
British publishers also made something of a comeback, perhaps due in part to their coverage of Prince Philip’s death, with the likes of The Mirror, The Metro, and The Sun all appearing alongside regular fixtures such as the BBC and The Guardian.
If you’d like to monitor the top publishers for yourself, check out NewsWhip’s product suite.