In August, U.S. media publishers accounted for 1.5 billion total social actions (likes, comments, shares, retweets, favorites, dislikes), with 729 million from Instagram, 715 million actions from Facebook, 52 million from Twitter, and 13 million from YouTube (excluding views).
This is the first time that social interactions on Instagram have surpassed Facebook. The media publishing industry saw a 5 percent decrease in total actions compared to July 2015, due to a 12 percent drop in Facebook actions. The media publishing industry represents 31 percent of all actions taken on content published by brands in August.
Of the top ten, Complex saw the highest growth in engagement at 16 percent, jumping to number seven from number nine in July 2015, driven by a 73 percent increase in likes and comments on Instagram. Bleacher Report claimed the top spot on Facebook, BuzzFeed dominated Twitter, and National Geographic kept its strong hold on its number one ranking on Instagram.
Key Engagement Drivers in August
In August, Complex continued its move up the ranking, placing in the Top Ten for the first time last month. Its 73 percent social growth on Instagram was driven by its 50 percent increase in post frequency on the platform. The media publisher’s most socially engaged Instagram posts featured male celebrities including John Legend eating wings off of Chrissy Teigen, Kanye West, A$AP Rocky with Tyler the Creator, and Will Smith with Martin Lawrence.
National Geographic Travel’s 11 percent growth can be attributed to Instagram and Twitter where the publisher saw respective 109 percent and 57 percent increases in total social actions. The 2015 Traveler Photo Contest and World Elephant Day led its top posts on Instagram and Twitter.
Finally, Instagram was also responsible for Bleacher Report’s social growth in August. The sports publisher saw a 42 percent increase on the social platform. The top performing Instagram posts included a congratulatory post for Rhonda Rousey’s KO win to Bethe Correia, heartfelt gestures like LeBron James’ donation to support college tuition for 1,000 students, and a video celebrating the start of football season.
The fastest growing categories by total social engagement were Men’s Interest (+30 percent), Auto (+7 percent) and Travel (7 percent). Maxim had the highest growth in the Men’s Interest category at 77 percent. In the Automotive category, Autoweek and Motor Trend Magazine saw the highest growth rates at 64 percent and 51 percent, respectively. Midwest Living and Coastal Living had the highest growth for the Travel category at 15 percent and 14 percent, respectively. Barstool Sports saw the highest growth of any publisher in August at 125 percent.
Tania Yuki is founder and CEO of Shareablee, a leading provider of social content analytics for business. She has spent most of her career in digital marketing, measurement and analytics, and was recently honored with a Great Mind Award from the Advertising Research Foundation and featured in Fast Company and Forbes as one of 12 women driving digital in New York.