Facebook published a report which offers a first-ever look at what content gets the most views in peoples’ news feeds.
The report published today is the first in a series of reports. It focuses on which domains, links, pages, and posts get the most views in the US.
A view is counted when content appears on a user’s screen for any length of time. A user does not have to engage with the content to ‘view’ it.
Industry folks argue this report falls short of what it, but there’s at least some interesting insights. We’ll look at those arguments at the end. First, let’s look at the data.
Facebook’s Widely Viewed Content Report
Facebook says the goal of this first quarterly report is to provide clarity around what people see in their news feed.
Here are some general takeaways:
- The content that’s seen by the most people isn’t necessarily the content that also gets the most engagement.
- 57% of posts that people see is from their family and friends.
- Fewer than 13% of content views were on posts with links.
- Most viewed news domains account for 0.31% of all content views. Of those domains, mainstream media dominate by views.
- Of posts with links, around a quarter of the most viewed domains were news publishers.
Most viewed domains
Facebook’s full report contains a list of the top 20 domains by content views. In the interest of brevity, here’s a look at the top five.
- youtube.com (181.3M views)
- amazon.com (134.6M views)
- unicef.org (134.4M views)
- gofundme.com (124.8M views)
- twitter.com (116.1M views)
Most viewed links
Again, Facebook’s report has a list of the top 20 links. Here’s a snapshot of the top five.
- https://www.playeralumniresources.com (87.2M views)
- https://purehempshop.com/collections/all (72.1M views)
- https://www.unicef.org/coronavirus/unicef-responding-covid-19-india (62.7M views)
- https://myincrediblerecipes.com (58.9M views)
- https://reppnforchrist.com/ (51.6M views)
If you’re confused about why some of these obscure links are the most viewed on all of Facebook in the US, you’re not alone. Evidence that we’ll look at later suggests they could be spam.
Most viewed pages
Here’s a shorted list of the most viewed Facebook pages.
- Unicef (153.2M views)
- Kitchen Fun With My 3 Sons (112.3M views)
- Sassy Media (109.5M views)
- The Dodo (104.5M views)
- LADbible (104.4M views)
Most viewed posts
Facebook’s report embeds all of the actual top 20 posts from the past quarter.
There’s definite trend as far as what kinds of posts are generating views on Facebook, as 15 of the top 20 posts are plain text.
A vast majority of the top posts are simply text posts encouraging users to leave a comment.
For example, this post from an unverified page managed to get over 58 million views. The page that posted it only has 120K followers.
See the full report (linked to at the end) for more examples.
Reaction to Facebook’s Report
Reactions to this report have not been favourable at all.
In an article circulating on Twitter right now, Ethan Zuckerman pens a harsh critique of the report saying the data doesn’t tell us anything useful.
“But it doesn’t share enough data that we can come to any meaningful conclusions. If the domain list included a thousand URLs, perhaps, we might be able to compare attention to a mainstream news site like CNN to a fringe newssite like the Dan Bongino podcast. But with only 20 domains – 13 of which should probably not appear in the set, as they’re generic to the point of meaninglessness – it’s very hard to know what’s going on.”
Another reason why this data is disappointing to industry folks is because of why some URLs are in the top positions.
Take purehempshop.com, for example. A NYT columnist discovered it received so many views because of a celebrity spamming affiliate links.
It appears to be due to uh….Steve Urkel pic.twitter.com/kDo3R279my
— Kevin Roose (@kevinroose) August 18, 2021
Perhaps Facebook will take this criticism into consideration when preparing future reports.
Though, if nothing else, it’s interesting to learn the amount of views a page can generate with a simple text post.
Data in the report was captured between April 1, 2021 and June 30, 2021.
Source: Facebook Newsroom