Yahoo study: New York Times leads in social engagement

A just-released Yahoo study, The Like Log Study, uncovers trends about how news is shared via social media.

The study crowns the New York Times the king of social engagement, with 2.3 million Facebook likes each month and 400 likes for an average story.

But during the study, which was conducted from October 2010 to January 2011, the Wall Street Journal had the top story: Why Chinese Moms are Superior, by Amy Chua.

In fact, opinion stories like Chua’s were by far the most popular on social networks. Also popular: “lifestyle, photo galleries, interactives, humor and odd news,” writes Yury Lifshits. Not so popular: political and celebrity news. Stories about Apple: Popular. Stories about Microsoft: Not so much.

Lifshits also writes, quite bluntly, that “Twitter is geeky.” Content from news websites like the Times, Yahoo News, CNN and The Washington Post were shared far more on Facebook than Twitter. But content from technology blogs like TechCrunch and Mashable generated more retweets on Twitter than Facebook likes.

Another finding is that stories have about a 24-hour lifespan. Less than 20 percent of a story’s likes come after its first day.

Among the takeaways from the study, Lifshits writes, is to invest in your big stories. “According to our study, most websites can capture 30% of their total enagement [sic] by publishing only ONE story per week!” he writes. “One story per day can capture 70-80% of your audience reactions.”

Also recommended in the study is for news organizations to invest in social media optimization. If a site has less than 5-20 retweets and likes per 1,000 pageviews, there’s a problem. Social media optimization can mean changing around a site’s social media sharing tools as well as ensuring that stories are appearing at only one URL.

A PDF of Lifshits’ study is available here. Embedded below is an introductory video.

The Like Log Study from Yury Lifshits on Vimeo.