The top publishers on Facebook in March 2023

April 11, 2023

Written by Benedict Nicholson

Facebook engagement has begun to rebound slightly after dropping in February, with The Daily Mail once again the dominant force in the UK and US. 

Here are some of the key takeaways from this month:

  • The Daily Mail remains by far the top social performer, with 18 million Facebook engagements
  • All three of the top publishers were British
  • Celebrity deaths once again held sway over the top articles, with a British TV presenter dominating headlines in March

The top publishers on Facebook in March 2023 in the US and UK

The Daily Mail was once again well ahead of the competition, with some four million more engagements than its closest rival The Daily Mirror, and almost double that of the BBC. 

Histogram showing the top publishers on Facebook in March 2023 in the US and UK, ranked by engagement

People was displaced on the podium as the BBC surged up into third-place despite receiving more engagement than it did in March, with the BBC’s surging from 7.6 million to 9.7 million engagements. In fact, all of the top three received more engagement in March than they did in February, with The Daily Mail rising from 15.8 million to 18 million and the Mirror going from 13.4 million to 13.8 million. Some rose more than others, but in general the top publishers had more engagement than they did in February. While some of this was down to the longer month, many of the publishers had more than the 10% increase that would correlate with the three extra days. 

In terms of what drove success for the top publishers, The Daily Mail saw a variety of top stories. The biggest of these was Keanu Reeves playing with Golden Retriever puppies, which had more than 250k engagements. The rest of the top five were about claims the earth would end from a TikToker (122.8k), the publisher’s take on Paul O’Grady’s death (89.8k), Harrison Ford nearly tripping off a jet in LA (87.2k), and The Rock reuniting with Brendan Fraser (77.2k).

For The Daily Mirror, soccer won the day again, with articles about Messi and Ramos at PSG (106.9k), Mbappe and Manchester United (96k), Sadio Mané’s conversation with Cristiano Ronaldo (95.7k), and Messi transfer talks (88.4k). The publisher’s only story that wasn’t to do with soccer was about a killer whale that is being released to the wild after 50 years in captivity (81.4k).

The BBC focused on sport and entertainment in its top articles, with the death of presenter Paul O’Grady both the publisher’s biggest article and the biggest story on Facebook for the month with 464k engagements. It also had reporting on The Oscars (110.9k) and a lottery winner (64k). The row over Gary Lineker was responsible for two of the top articles, with 96.1k and 64.2k engagements respectively. 

But what about the top articles overall? 

The top articles on Facebook in March 2023 in the US and UK

As we noted earlier, the BBC’s coverage of the death of Paul O’Grady was the top article overall, with Sky News also having an article in the top three with its coverage of the star’s death.

Chart showing the top articles on Facebook in March 2023 in the US and UK, ranked by engagement

Beyond this, the top article was about Brendan Fraser’s Oscar win for The Whale, capping a comeback story for the actor. 

The rest of the top stories were a mix of hard and soft news, with comets, birthdays, deaths, and concerts all featuring among the top articles. 

The top 25 publishers in March

The top 25 publishers had more collective engagement in March than they did in February, with the top group having 145 million engagements compared to 118 million last month — again significantly more than the 10% increase you would expect from the extra days alone.

Chart showing the top 25publishers on Facebook in March 2023 in the US and UK, ranked by engagement

Notable names included were local sites such as the Manchester Evening News and Football London, both of which saw success thanks to their soccer coverage.

If you’d like to learn more about how the biggest publishers have covered brand crises, check out our latest report

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Benedict Nicholson

In addition to leading the NewsWhip Research Center in New York, Benedict Nicholson manages partnerships with internationally recognized media outlets furthering data journalism, which includes NewsWhip’s Data for Democracy program. Benedict also facilitates consultations with communicators from the top 10 public relations agencies across America and Europe and with Fortune 500 brands to discuss consumer engagement trends and effective media monitoring. Email Benedict via benedict.nicholson@newswhip.com.

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