Facebook sees a slight decline in engagements with publishers in the third quarter of 2020

NewsWhip Analytics recently issued its report on Facebook publishing trends from 1st July till 30th September 2020. This report also looks at the native publishers and the content that got published on Facebook by them in the third quarter of 2020. However, despite the engagement level in Q2 and Q1 of this year, this report points out that there has been a minor dip in engagement for top web publishers on Facebook.

The parameters of this report are based on all the Web content and Native Facebook content in the English language, and this content has been measured by Facebook interactions, that have been broken down by likes, comments, shares, and reactions.

Some of the key stats that this report highlighted point towards a lesser Total engagement to web publishers on Facebook in the Q3 of 2020 as compared to Q2 of 2020, by a fall from almost 16 billion to below 10 billion. However, this fall is still higher in comparison to the 6.5 billion from Q3 of 2019. This represents a 50% increase in the engagement from the third quarters of 2019 to 2020.

In terms of Average engagement by year, in Q3 of 2019, there were almost 185 interactions per article, and these engagements were found to be around 430 interactions per article in Q2 of 2020. However, there was a dip in Q3 with 247 interactions per article. But here also, like in Total engagements, Q3 of 2020 was still higher than Q3 of last year. However, this rise is less dramatic as compared to Total engagement due to a greater number of articles being written over this period.

Another important conclusion that was drawn from this report is that Q2 focused mainly on the topics of COVID-19 and its impacts and the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. The prime focus of more than one-fourth of the top 100 stories, and 11 out of 15 stories on Facebook in Q3 of 2020 revolved around politics, perhaps due to the upcoming General Election in the U.S.

A percentage breakout for Q3 suggests that the topic of Politics dominated all other categories by being at 29%, COVID stories took over 22%, ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement-related stories are at 18%, Death news, including Chadwick Boseman’s death, made around 10% of engagement on Facebook, Soft news dipped to 8% in q3, and 13% of the engagement was based on other stories.

Another key factor that has been noticed in this report is that there was a notable shift between quarters in the types of most famous posts on Facebook. In q3, the most dominant format of posts was Photo which made up 56% of the top 10,000 posts. In the previous quarters, this percentage was lower and native video was slightly more dominant. However, in q3, out of the most famous 10,000 posts on Facebook, Native video make up 32%, Status updates take around 6%, Shared Links make up around 6%, while Embedded video and Live video have made up 0%.

In terms of the most commonly used reactions to native content on Facebook, ‘Love’ dominated all.
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