Another look at the Facebook leaderboard

In August, we published the Facebook sharing rankings for Australian news sites, counting all stories that earned 100 or more Facebook shares.

The top five was:

  1. Ninemsn news
  2. News.com.au
  3. SMH.com.au
  4. The Age
  5. Herald Sun

Recently we went back to the data to count total Facebook shares (likes, comments, shares) by adding the long tail of stories that received 99-1 shares to the original sample.

The graph below shows a different result. News.com.au comes out on top and The Age overtakes the Herald Sun.

FacebooksharesThis graph is important because it shows all Facebook shares for each publication during our capture period (March-June 2012). There’s no equivocation or speculation here. In quantum terms, News.com.au takes the win. And, as we showed last week, Facebook drives nine times more sharing than Twitter in the Australian news market so this chart is one of the key sharing leaderboards.

But there are other ways to cut the data to level the playing field for those publications with smaller audiences. One way to normalise is to show a per-story published figure.

The chart below shows how many stories each site published during the capture period. The volume of stories from Yahoo!7 and the West Australian is interesting: roughly five times as many published as the ABC.

StoriespublishedWhen we normalise for story volume, the leaderboard changes again. ABC News leapfrogs the Age, Herald-Sun and SMH into third place.

FBperstory

We know that News.com.au and ninemsn have focused on creating and seeding shareable content. But why would ABC content share strongly? One reason is the stories on the ABC site are mostly original. They are produced by and for the ABC and do not appear anywhere else. We already know novelty is a sharing driver. If your new material is also original, its sharing juice is not going to be diluted by identical versions kicking around on the web and social media. The other publishers move a lot more wire content. Also, the ABC as a media brand is loved and supported by its audience in a way that other publishers are not. Perhaps these readers are more inclined to associate themselves with the ABC and therefore more likely to share ABC stories. ABC news staff might also be doing a great job of seeding their content.

Next week we look at how adding Twitter data to the mix changes the leaderboard. Surprisingly, it does not help the ABC’s cause but there is one major mover.

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Andrew Hunter

About Andrew Hunter

Andrew Hunter is Editor-in-Chief of Microsoft's MSN. Twitter: @Huntzie

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