Which News Sites Have the Most Valuable Facebook Pages?

Maintaining a Facebook Page is now a fundamental part of most news organizations’ social media presence. News sites utilize Facebook Pages to increase brand visibility, promote content, interact with users and drive traffic back to their main sites. But how much are these pages really worth to them, and which news sites are getting the most value for their efforts?

Only the news organizations themselves can fully answer that question; their own analytics data combined with internal estimates of the value of fans and various actions will paint the clearest picture. But when I came across Vitrue’s new Social Page Evaluator I thought it would be interesting to compare ballpark valuation figures for selection of major news sites.

The Social Page Evaluator (SPE) provides an estimated “Annual Page Value” for any single Facebook Page based on the last 30 days of activity. According to its disclaimer the SPE factors in fan count, user activity, brand activity and “a proprietary engagement multiplier” and then calculates an “Earned Media Value” using a default CPM of $5. The CPM can be adjusted between $1 and $25.

While the methodology and accuracy can be debated the tool does offer way to make a relative comparison of various Facebook Pages, so that is all I am attempting to do.

Here is a ranking of major news organization Facebook Pages based on activity in the last 30 days and using the default $5 CPM:

SiteFansPage PostsInteractionsAnnual Page Value
1CNN880,77411278,004$6,465,279
2The New York Times595,33922640,476$4,786,980
3Fox News581,3904167,808$4,290,658
4NPR771,483198135,035$4,114,836
5The Economist278,81714918,207$1,627,877
6Time114,99718311,215$1,241,968
7The Huffington Post113,12732051,095$1,221,772
8Newsweek124,201644,573$1,069,088
9The Wall Street Journal75,121728,109$811,307
10The Washington Post48,774875,600$526,759
11Yahoo! News36,68610711,797$396,209
12ABC News39,734555,509$393,367
13MSNBC36,14717013,170$390,388
14Forbes30,519883,445$329,605
15CBS News29,6509411,497$320,000
16BBC News24,8441227,724$268,315
17The Guardian23,156533,529$220,908
18USA Today19,3591003,962$209,077
19AOL News16,39836512,727$177,098
20AP16,1811734,414$174,755
21The Christian Science Monitor13,7481253,398$148,478
22Chicago Tribune8,50360840$91,832
23Los Angeles Times10,82330832$58,444
24Reuters8107557$8,748
25Telegraph.co.uk58524391$6,318

CNN earns the #1 spot by a considerable margin but The New York Times, Fox News and NPR also have impressive valuations.

In looking at the table, total number of fans certainly plays a large role but posts and interactions matter too. Fox News getting 67,808 interactions from just 41 posts is impressive, although the quality of those interactions is not measured. I had previously pointed out the high level of engagement that Fox News gets on its Facebook page; this data supports that further.

Additional Notes

I also wanted to point out a few things that I noticed while doing the analysis.

CBS News and Reuters are the only two news organizations in the group that have not created a short, customized URL for their page (e.g. www.facebook.com/nytimes):

CBS Facebook Page URL

Reuters Facebook Page URL

That is a missed opportunity.

While on Facebook the page URL shown to users in the browser changes radically depending on how it was navigated to. For example when I went to the CNN page by searching “CNN” while on the Fox News page I ended up on this URL:

"Facebook Page URLs change based on navigation

There are multiple combinations that can occur. If you paste those funky URLs into a new browser tab they redirect to a better URL (in the CNN example www.facebook.com/cnn?ref=ts). But it is still not the main URL for the page and the redirects themselves do not appear to be permanent.

Also for Facebook Pages that were set with capital letters in the name (e.g. www.facebook.com/TheEconomist) the lower case version has a 302 redirect:

Facebook Page URL 302 redirect

The same is true for capitalized URLs that were set in lower case.

So to minimize user confusion and maximize inbound links to the actual Facebook Page URL it is a good idea to display the main URL in a couple places on the page.

Some organizations do this on their Info tab:

CNN Facebook Page info tab

Comments

  1. CPM is a little over inflated unless I’m thinking about the calculation wrong. The CPM on facebook is running lower than .20. You’d need 25 ads running on the pages to break even. Do I have this right?

  2. It’s a good point Chuck, the CPM you plug into the Social Page Evaluator makes all the difference in terms of the valuation figures it provides. I used the default CPM just as a means to make a relative comparison between the various news organizations. As for the high CPM figures, I think Virtue is assigning a higher value to “natural” on-page interactions than ad clicks.

  3. Why would one assign more value to natural interaction? The possibility of selling more CPM on associated pages of the linked content site? Sorry for the basic questions here….

  4. I went back to the Vitrue site to look for more specifics on why $5 is the default CPM and why $1 is the lowest CPM, but it’s not spelled out in their disclaimer or FAQ.

    There’s also nothing about assigning more value to natural interactions; that was just my guess. For news organizations clicks are key but more personal user engagement, particularly in the form of comments and discussions, helps form long-term user relationships with the brand and hopefully keeps people coming back for repeat visits. That’s hard to quantify or measure but it’s definitely of value.

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