There was a big shakeup in the rankings this month as the Daily Mail dethroned the Daily Wire as the most engaged publisher on Facebook for the first time in more than a year.
As always, we used our API and NewsWhip Spike 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 for this month:
- The Daily Mail replaced the Daily Wire as the top publisher on Facebook
- Overall engagement rose slightly for the top publishers
- Ukraine dominated the top articles on Facebook
Let’s look a little closer.
The top publishers on Facebook in March 2022
The big news this month is that we have a new leader at the top of the charts for Facebook engagement for the first time since 2020, with the Daily Mail replacing the Daily Wire.
This was brought about by both a slight rise in engagement for The Daily Mail and a slight fall in engagement for the Daily Wire compared to February. The former rose from 29 million to more than 32 million engagements, while the latter fell from almost 35 million to 26 million in the same month it launched ‘anti-woke’ versions of a razor company and Daily Wire for Kids to compete with Disney.
British publishers did particularly well this month, with three of the top five publishers being based in the UK. The Daily Mirror and Nigeria’s Legit also managed to crack the top five, while American publishers mostly populated the rest of the top ten, alongside the Philippine outlet ABS-CBN.
For The Daily Mail, the content that was most engaged was much more uniform than it often is, with all of the top five stories touching on the invasion of Ukraine in some way or another. These included donations made by Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher (265k), girls crying as their father went off to fight (259k), a Ukrainian refugee being greeted by their new classmates (256k), a Russian general being killed by a sniper (237k), and a girl managing to successfully flee the invasion (212k).
This Ukrainian theme also carried over to The Daily Mirror, three of whose top articles were about Russia’s invasion. The most engaged, and indeed the most engaged story of the month overall, was about a Ukrainian actor who was killed in battle after volunteering to fight to defend his country (709k). The other two stories to feature among the most engaged were about a woman who took down a drone with a can of tomatoes (212k), and a mum who rescued her dogs after getting her kids to safety (200k). The other two articles in the top five were both about soccer, and covered Cristiano Ronaldo’s new car (235k), and Real Madrid’s Champions League victory (218k).
The Daily Wire had no such thematic unity, with all five of its top articles being about different topics. These included a viral Candace Owens response (386k), its coverage of Emma Weyent and Lia Thomas (379k), Mila Kunis’s donations to Ukraine (323k), Kid Rock’s comments on ‘cancel culture’ (311k), and a court case over a dad going maskless at a sports game (279k).
But how did these articles from the top publishers compare to the most engaged articles across the internet as a whole?
The top articles on Facebook in March 2022
The Russian invasion was also a huge theme for the top stories overall, with seven of the top fifteen articles pertaining to the war.
These mostly included stories of everyday heroism from Ukrainians, from quitting jobs to sign up and fight to going above and beyond to rescue vulnerable people or animals.
Stories not about the war that were highly engaged included pieces on Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe returning to the UK from Iran after years in captivity, Ernest Shackleton’s ship being found off the coast of Antarctica, and the death of Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Interestingly, although ‘the slap’ was a huge narrative with millions of engagements overall, there was only one individual story about it that garnered enough engagement to make it into the top 15 articles.
March’s top 25 publishers
The chart below shows the top 25 publishers of March 2022, ranked by engagement.
There were no real changes between this month and last month, other than the top 25 having slightly more engagement as a group than they did in February.
British publishers featured prominently, but African publishers also featured a number of times, with Kenyan and Nigerian publishers appearing five times among the top 25 overall.
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