NewsWhip Announces 2014 Whippies Winners; HuffPost Takes Facebook Gold

By David Cohen 

NewsWhip2014WhippiesFacebook650Social media news aggregator NewsWhip announced the winners of its first annual Whippies awards for publishers with the strongest engagement on Facebook and Twitter, and The Huffington Post took home the honors for Facebook.

HuffPost was trailed by BuzzFeed and Fox News. The Whippies winners for Twitter were, in order, BBC, Mashable and The New York Times. And the best newcomers category was made up of PlayBuzz, Vox Media and India Times.

NewsWhip wrote on the three Facebook winners:

The overall winner on Facebook this year had to be The Huffington Post. Consistently on top of the charts since April, it set new records for impact on Facebook in 2014. Some of its biggest stories achieved mind-boggling reach.

The Huffington Post’s blogging platform looks to be a key pillar in its success on Facebook in particular.

For instance, one of its most-shared stories of the year, “10 Things Your Mom Never Told You,” had more than 300,000 shares and was written by a guest blogger, rather than a staff writer. HuffPost is unique in being able to give content an unrivaled platform on social media, and it set new records for overall monthly engagement on Facebook during 2014.

In second place, BuzzFeed has had a similarly extraordinary year on Facebook.

Despite expanding hugely in terms of coverage, BuzzFeed’s output remains relatively low compared with many of its direct competitors, suggesting that its stories are perfectly pitched to readers.

It has had huge stories. As we noted in February, it was an early adapter of the interactive quiz as a means of encouraging sharing. And its most-shared stories consistently get enviable interaction rates.

One of its biggest hits of the year was beguilingly simple. “Which Classic Rock Band Are You?,” marked the peak of BuzzFeed’s quiz popularity back in February, with more than 800,000 Facebook shares.

However, in 2014, we saw BuzzFeed move on from being seen purely a gif-heavy entertainment site. Some of its most-shared stories of the year included exclusive news stories, as well as many popular long-form pieces from its dedicated “Big Stories” section. As a publisher that puts social firmly at the heart of what it does, it’s interesting to watch how BuzzFeed goes about adapting traditional content forms and fine-tuning them for Facebook readers.

With significant investment and a string of high-profile hires in 2014, we’ll be watching its progression in 2015 keenly.

Taking third place is Fox News, one of the most reliably-performing publishers in the rankings. It grew its monthly Facebook interactions from 8 million in January to almost 24 million last month.

It has been in the top three, four or five every month this year, and it has been amazing to watch the network adapt to social media as a means of reaching a wider audience than ever before. A widely circulated clip of newscaster Shepard Smith urging for calm after the U.S.’ first Ebola case in October proved to be one of its most popular pieces of content of the year on Facebook. It made waves across the Internet and racked up almost 600,000 interactions on Facebook alone.

In August, it even came close to challenging BuzzFeed in overall engagements, and its consistent presence near the top of the rankings means that it is impossible to overlook.

Readers: Did you interact with any of the three 2014 Whippies winners on Facebook?