5 charts that show local news broadcaster trends from more than 800 Facebook pages


By Emilie Lutostanski
Director, Local News Resource Center, LMA

An evaluation of 835 local news broadcasters in North America reveals interesting trends in posting frequency, content mix and interaction rates on Facebook.

Using CrowdTangle, we pulled public metrics to compare differences in posting habits on local radio and television broadcasters’ Facebook pages, excluding newspapers and news sites, which were highlighted in a previous report.

Data was collected from June 1-30, 2019, and is intended to serve as a snapshot for demonstrative purposes. The broadcasters were divided into tiers based on the number of page likes, taking into consideration evident plateaus in the data set.

Local news broadcasters’ Facebook pages tiered based on number of likes:

XL: 1 million+
L: 500,000-999,999
M: 200,000-499,999
S: 100,000-199,000
XS: 0-99,999

The public data analyzed for this report includes posting frequency, the mix of posted content such as photos, links and videos, and post interaction rate, which is the number of engagements divided by the page size. These key findings surfaced:

  • Frequency: The Facebook pages with at least 200,000+ page likes, or the top 33 percent in the sample, had a median number of posts per day between 38-40. Pages with the most likes posted most often, and pages with the fewest followers posted less often, with the smallest 46% of pages posting a median of seven times per day.
  • Content mix: Among all pages, 75.6% of posts were links, 12.6% were Facebook videos, and 8.8% were photos, followed by 2.1% shared video posts, statuses with 0.6%, and 0.3% other video. Larger pages tended to post more links, with L and XL pages posting links 79%-81% of the time, while XS pages posted links 72% of the time.
  • Interaction rate: Across all data, links garnered the highest median interaction rate at 0.13%, followed by Facebook video at 0.10%, photos at 0.08%, other video at 0.04% and statuses at 0.03%. For smaller pages in the S and XS cohorts, links were highly engaging with 0.15% and 0.16% interaction rates, respectively. For XL pages, Facebook video and photos were the most engaging posts, both at a median interaction rate of 0.14%.

About the data
This is a sampling of 835 local television and radio site Facebook pages. Data was gathered using CrowdTangle, which tracks public metrics including public pages, public groups and verified profiles, as well as interactions, page likes and video views. A note for CrowdTangle users: This is based on data extracted from the Explore List, Local News – Broadcast, though not all pages are included and additional known local news broadcaster pages were added. For example, pages with zero posts during the time frame were excluded. We downloaded a CSV of the Leaderboard data over 30 days, June 1-30, 2019, then parsed and analyzed the data for this report.

Here is more detail about the core metrics pulled from the data in each tier.

XL: 1 million+ Page Likes
The XL group is made up of 25 broadcaster pages, from ABC7 in Los Angeles to WFLA News Channel 8 in Tampa Bay. With a median 1.5 million page likes, six of these pages top two million followers.

These pages are just 3% of the total number of broadcasters on the list.

With a total of 1,680 posts, this group published 0.3% of all posts but accounted for 22.4% of all interactions in June. XL pages have the highest median number of posts per day at 40, and the median number of posts over 30 days was 1,214. During this time, the median number of each post type was 54 photos, 950 links, 0 statuses, 139 owned videos and 17 shared video.

L: 500,000-999,999 Page Likes
The L group is made up of 58 broadcaster pages, from KING 5 in Seattle to KARE 11 in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Half of these broadcasters have fewer than 600,000 page likes, and the median number of page likes among them is 649,098.

These pages make up 7% of the total number of broadcasters included in this snapshot and account for 21.8% of interactions. Combined, the top 10% of pages in size accounted for 44% of interactions during this time frame.

With a total of 71,422 posts, this group published 11.7% of all posts. L pages have the second-highest median number of posts per day at and the median number of posts over 30 days was 1,176. The median number of each post type was 50 photos, 958 links, 1 statuses, 137 owned videos and 12 shared videos.

M: 200,000-499,999 Page Likes
The M group is made up of 194 broadcasters, from Fox 5 Las Vegas to NBC 10 WJAR in Providence, R.I. The median number of page likes in this cohort is 299,454. The M group makes up 23% of the total number of broadcasters included in this snapshot.

With a total of 232,006 posts, M pages posted 38% of all posts during this time and garnered 38% of all interactions, making it the only group in which post volume matches share of interactions.

M pages post a median of 38 times per day and the median number of posts over 30 days was 1147. During this time, the median number of each post type was 55 photos, 914 links, 1 statuses, 131 owned videos and 12 shared videos.

S: 100,000-199,000 Page Likes
The S group is made up of 171 broadcasters, from KFYR-TV in Bismarck, N.D. to WLTZ First News in Columbus, Ga. The median number of page likes in this cohort is 141,283. This group makes up about 20% of the total number of broadcasters included in this snapshot.

S pages garnered about 13% of all interactions in the cohort.

With a total of 138,299 posts, the S pages published 22.75% of all posts during this timeframe. These pages had a median of 26 posts per day and the median number of posts over 30 days was 775. During this time, the median number of each post type for S pages was 54 photos, 590 links, 2, 79 owned video and 7 shared videos.

XS: 0-99,999 Page Likes
The XS group is the largest with 387 pages or 46.3% of the pages in this report, from KXVO in Omaha to KGNS- TV 8 in Laredo, Texas. The median number of page likes for XS pages was 22,224.

XS pages account for 4.2% of all interactions in June, about a third of what the S group garnered, though this cohort it more than twice that size.

With a total of 132,221 posts, this group published 21.8% of all posts. XS pages by far have the lowest median number of posts per day at 7, just a sixth of the frequency of XL broadcast pages. The median number of posts over 30 days was 222. During this time, the median number of each post type was 25 photos, 140 links, 1 statuses, 20 owned videos, and 2 shared videos.

Have questions, comments or want to share anecdotes from your newsroom? Contact us. This report was created by the Local News Resource Center, which is funded by the Facebook Journalism Project. Subscribe to our monthly newsletter and learn more about the LNRC here.