Q4 2021

Facebook Publishing

We looked back at Q4 to define the web and native content that had the most success on the platform.

Top Publishers
Q4 2021

The top 15 publishers on Facebook had slightly lower engagement than they did compared to Q3 of the same year, with only one publisher hitting more than 100M engagements for the quarter.

As usual, we should take a moment to note here that the numbers include subsidiaries for the big cable publishers. This means that NBC contains local news stations under its umbrella, as does Fox News.

The Daily Wire was the top publisher of any on Facebook in Q4, with engagement to its web content on the platform totaling some 109 million.

No other publisher breached the 100 million mark, with NBC’s umbrella coming the closest at 96 million.

The Daily Mail rounded out the top three, though with significantly fewer engagements, coming in at some 70 million. The rest of the top 15 had between 28 million and 64 million engagements on the platform, which represents quite a broad range.

Legit — a Nigerian publication, made its debut in the top 15 this quarter, disrupting the domination of European and American publications have enjoyed until now.

Top web publishers by Facebook engagement

Most engaged stories Q4 2021

The most engaged stories overall were dominated by the death of Betty White, who passed away aged 99 on the last day of 2021.

Two of the top three articles were about the actress’s death, and they had more than 1.5 million engagements each, from People Magazine and TMZ respectively. CNN also had a piece on White’s death with more than a million engagements. We often see celebrity deaths resonate deeply and broadly with audiences as they share their memories of their favorites and pay homage to those no longer with us. Colin Powell’s death also appeared in the top five stories of the quarter.

The rest of the articles were thematically mixed, with Redstate praising a Chevrolet ad, Gates Notes offering a free eBook for college and university students, and the Daily Wire’s stance against vaccine mandates all featuring prominently.

The trials of Kyle Rittenhouse and the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery were also highly engaged, as we will see on the next page.

Most engaged web content in Q4 2021

Publisher Headline Engagements
people.com Betty White Dies: The Golden Girls and Mary Tyler Moore Show Star Was 99 1,581,899
people.comtmz.com Betty White Dead at 99 1,531,667
redstate.com Did Chevrolet Have to Make America Cry With Its New Christmas Ad? 1,444,801
cnn.com Betty White, beloved and trailblazing actress, dies at 99 1,230,387
abcnews.go.com At least 50 dead as tornadoes devastate Kentucky 1,115,343
cnn.com Colin Powell, military leader and first Black US secretary of state, dies 1,062,323
gatesnotes.com Free eBook for college and university students 955,659
lp.dailywire.com DO NOT COMPLY. 844,024
npr.org 3 white men are found guilty of murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery 759,835
dailywire.com BREAKING: Kyle Rittenhouse Found Not Guilty | The Daily Wire 735,462

Top 100 stories

There was a big difference in the types of stories that performed best on Facebook last quarter compared to the previous one. 

In Q3, we noted a move away from politics and towards more ‘soft news’, whether that was about animals, cute children, or some other kind of inspiring or uplifting content.

That changed quite dramatically in Q4, with legal decisions and politics dominating the 100 most engaged headlines.

There was a roughly even split between the trial of Ahmaud Arbery’s murderers and the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse among the legal stories, which together made up nearly a third of the top stories.

Politics stories of various kinds made up another 17, so together these were almost half of the top 100.

Deaths, despite dominating the very top stories, only made up ten of the top 100, meaning there were a relative handful of stories that got very high engagement, rather than being a prominent theme in many different publications.

There were still some ‘soft news’ stories.

Percentage of top 100 stories of Q4 2021 by genre

Top Facebook Pages

The most engaged Facebook page in Q4 2021 by a considerable distance was Women Working, which posts a mixture of memes and articles.

They had almost double the engagements of any other page on Facebook, with 155 million — almost 70 million more than their nearest rivals, the page for soccer club Manchester United.

Politics, sports, and animals were generally the dominant drivers of engagement for the big pages.

The ICC and Bleacher Report Football were examples for sport, while Occupy Democrats, The Other 98, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino provided both sides of the political spectrum. Of those, Occupy Democrats saw marginally more engagement than its competitors.

Top Facebook Pages of Q4 2021

Top post types

Finally, we looked at the formats that appeared the most when looking at the top 10,000 posts.

Photo rounded out the year as the most dominant post type, with native video coming in second place once again. Both post types have seen slightly more usage this quarter, but photo is still able to secure the lead. 

Out of the other post types, which include links, embedded videos, statuses, and live videos, links appeared the most frequently. Although when compared to Q3, links were actually used 231 more times than this quarter, which could account for the increase in photo and native video posts.

Top 10,000 Facebook posts by format (%)

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