Sep 13, 2022 - Economy

For media publishers, Twitter still dominates on social

Publishers' followings across social media
Data: Axios; Chart: Tory Lysik/Axios, NOTE: Analysis includes social followings of 82 publishers, including most major U.S. news networks, magazines, newspapers, and digital-first news companies

Twitter is still the place where media publishers collectively have the largest audiences, followed by Facebook and Instagram, according to an Axios analysis of 82 major news, entertainment and sports publishers.

Why it matters: While some publishers are finding quick success on TikTok, the platform yields fewer overall followers for publishers than other social platforms.

Details: Roughly one-quarter of media outlets analyzed do not have official TikTok accounts. Many that do still have relatively small followings.

  • Every publisher observed has a Twitter account, and the vast majority have YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts.
  • More people follow news, sports and entertainment publishers on LinkedIn than TikTok, per the analysis.

Yes, but: Publishers' low follower counts on TikTok could stem from many outlets choosing to not yet invest meaningfully in it.

  • TikTok's algorithm is arguably more unpredictable than Twitter's, and it's more known as a platform for entertainment rather than hard news.
  • Follower count also doesn't necessarily speak to engagement.

The big picture: The analysis finds that media success varies dramatically by publisher type.

  • Most of the top LinkedIn publishers by followers are business and finance outlets. Sports outlets like ESPN and Bleacher Report tend to have outsized followings on TikTok and Instagram.
  • Major national news outlets that are TV-first, such as CNN, ABC News and BBC News, have large YouTube and Facebook followings.

Be smart: National Geographic, by far, has the largest social following across its main accounts, with more than 340 million followers over six major platforms (not taking into account duplication).

  • The next closest publisher, the BBC, has more than 150 million followers across its main accounts on those platforms, followed by CNN and ESPN.

Of note: While the analysis didn't include local news outlets, which aren't built to scale in the same way that national media companies are, Axios found that Twitter is also their most followed platform. That's followed by Facebook.

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