It is safe to say that most news sites are now experimenting with various forms of user engagement and content promotion through social media. In recent years many larger news organizations were still coming to terms with the need for a social presence and the nature of their participation. Now the focus is decidedly more tactical with sites looking to understand how to maximize the benefits of their efforts and better integrate them with other marketing initiatives.
So which news sites are getting the most out of their social media efforts?
That’s not an easy question to answer without having access to each site’s analytics data and knowing their goals and objectives. But it is possible to make some basic comparisons using data from some of the free tools that are available.
Since I’ve been comparing major news sites in variety of areas (Facebook and Twitter impact; YouTube and new Digg activity; site speed and domain authority, among others) I thought I’d look at overall social media engagement too.
PostRank has a comparison tool that uses its Domain Activity API to measure total engagement based on user participation across multiple social platforms. So I ran 30+ news sites through the tool.
PostRank counts “engagement events” which it defines as individual activities such as a tweet, like, comment, digg, RSS view, etc. It then assigns “engagement points” to each event; events that demonstrate a higher level of effort and engagement are given higher values. These points are combined into a total engagement score (for more information see What is Engagement? on their site).
So which news sites are getting the most social media engagement?
|1||The New York Times||11,292,352|
|6||The Huffington Post||4,721,214|
|8||The Wall Street Journal||3,354,520|
|10||The Washington Post||2,415,594|
|11||Los Angeles Times||1,919,978|
|14||Daily Mail (UK)||1,304,779|
|17||The Boston Globe||790,635|
|25||The Financial Times||431,672|
|28||The Christian Science Monitor||254,322|
The New York Times leads the pack by a considerable margin. CNN, BBC News, Yahoo News, The Guardian and The Huffington Post form the next tier. The top 15 sites earned scored over 1 million; from that point the scores begin to drop considerably.
Here is a head-to-head look at the top three (click to enlarge):
The BBC News score is somewhat inflated because the PostRank tool cannot isolate by subdirectory so I had to measure all of bbc.co.uk, not just bbc.co.uk/news/. But in going through the site a substantial portion of the content is news so I opted to include it.
In looking at these figures it is important to note that sites with larger audiences have greater opportunities for engagement, so bigger brands are likely to have larger numbers. But reach and total engagement do still matter so I wanted to make that comparison.
More important is the quality of the engagement and the actions that are triggered by it. A smaller number of engagement points that directly lead to traffic, links, fans, signups, revenue or any other desired action can be much more valuable than just raw user activity across social platforms.