News & Opinion

Newspaper brands achieved top Facebook reach during Brexit referendum & 2017 election

Enders Analysis' report into the reach of news stories on Facebook finds that the Express had the biggest reach of all news organisations in the lead up to the referendum, while the Guardian came out on top during the general election earlier this year.

By examining the top 1,000 Brexit-themed posts by number of total engagements on Facebook in the four months prior to the referendum, Enders found that tabloids accrued the highest amount of shares (35%) and that the Express achieved the highest level of engagement on Brexit posts, followed by the Daily Mail, BBC and The Telegraph.

According to the report, the most popular tabloid stories were almost all fact-based, while most of the broadsheet articles engaged with on Facebook were opinion pieces, either strongly for or against Brexit.

It states: "The common element among most of the top content, regardless of publisher, was that the political 'lean' of the article in question could clearly be detected by the elements published on Facebook. Users could easily detect whether the news story was in favour of or against Brexit. By engaging with the content, users could be inferred to have signalled a particular political stance of their own, which they wanted to communicate to their networks."

During the 2017 general election, the Guardian achieved the overall highest reach of all news publishers on Facebook, while The Independent obtained the highest reach when it comes to articles on party leaders, followed by the Guardian.

The report notes: "Overall coverage weighted by distribution of engagements is much more left-leaning on social media than in print or on major news websites on average. The shift is, at least in part, due to the youth of the Facebook user base relative to likely voters.

"However, according to data from comScore from April 2017, overall traffic to UK news websites was still dominated by established news brands with strong print newspaper circulations or a presence on TV."

You can access the report here.

by Jessie Sampson 11/10/17

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