The 18 Publishers That Are Shared Most on Social Networks


by Ayaz Nanji

Only a few publishers have mastered the art of consistently getting their content shared on social networks, according to a report from Fractl and Buzzsumo.

The report was based on data from 2.6 billion content shares of 1 million articles from 190 publishers over a six-month period. Shares were tracked across five major social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Most publishers (94%) included in the study had fewer than 50 million shares in the time period examined, and 93% received fewer than 5,000 shares, on average, per article.

However, a few publishers were extremely efficient at promoting their articles and encouraging engagement; however, that success did not apply across all social networks.

Each of the top publishers examined did well on just a few social platforms, and none succeeded in having a strong presence on all five. For example, BuzzFeed earned 15% of the total shares analyzed, but most of those shares came on two networks: Facebook and Pinterest.

Moreover, six of the top publishers received more than 90% of their shares on a single network, and both Upworthy and ViralNova received more than 99% of their total shares from just one (Facebook).

Such varying success on different channels led to a combination of 18 publishers’ accounting for the most shared outlets on the social networks examined:

Below, additional key findings from the report.

Top Social Networks for Sharing

  • 81.9% of the shares examined occurred on Facebook, by far the most of any network.
  • Twitter was responsible for the second largest percentage of shares: 8.6%.

Shares by Sentiment

  • Positive adjectives such as “greatest,” “happiest,” “hilarious,” and “cutest” were prevalent in the headlines of the most-shared articles examined.
  • Common verbs in the headlines of the most-shared articles involved learning and knowledge; words such as “understand,” “know,” “prove,” and “believe” occurred frequently.
  • Most news publications tended toward more negative tones overall in their headlines—especially CNN, Daily Mail, Fox News, the New York Times, the Blaze, the Guardian, USA Today, and the Washington Post.
  • BuzzFeed and Upworthy headlines were largely neutral.
  • Mashable had more positive headlines than any other top publisher.