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Published January 12th 2015

What Was The Most Shared UK Publisher Content From December 2014?

The Guardian has the most shared content but the BBC dominates on Twitter.

Interested in which UK publishers get the most shares for their content? We’ve been taking a look over the last month. We looked at all content published in the four weeks prior to 11th Jan across a number of the larger UK publisher sites including:

  • bbc.co.uk
  • theguardian.com
  • mirror.co.uk
  • dailymail.co.uk
  • telegraph.co.uk

We looked at shares across Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Most Shared Content in 4 Weeks To 11 January 2015

What is immediately striking when you look at the most shared content for the period is the relatively poor performance of the BBC in terms of overall shares. Only three of the top 20 most shared articles were from the BBC and their most shared article was only in 10th place, an article on Lionel Messi, the Barcelona striker. It was also the BBC’s only article to receive more than 100,000 shares in the month.

The top articles received over 200,000 shares and the top three articles were shared between the Guardian, the Mirror and the Daily Mail. The Guardian and the Mirror each had 7 of the top 20 most shared articles during the period. The Daily Mail and the BBC had three each. The top ten most shared articles are below.

What is particularly interesting is the differences between publishers when you analyse the shares by network and content types.

Top publishers by Network


The key to achieving high social shares in the UK is sharing on Facebook. It is the primary network where people in the UK share news. Most shares take place on Facebook and the top performing posts were shared equally between the Guardian, Mirror and Daily Mail. Each of their top articles in the month received over 200,000 Facebook shares. The BBC performs relatively poorly when it comes to the most shared posts on Facebook. When we look back over the last year on BuzzSumo Guardian had 48 articles with more than 100,000 Facebook shares. By contrast the BBC had just seven.


The BBC dominates when it comes to Twitter with all 5 of the most shared articles on Twitter and ten out of the top 20. Also when you compare the performance of the BBC against BuzzFeed and Huffington Post (two of the large global players) the BBC still dominates with 16 out of 20 of the most shared articles for the period on Twitter. The other four were BuzzFeed posts including one stand out post on The 21 Deepest Liam Payne Tweets Of 2014 which received over 70,000 tweets. This was 50,000 more than BuzzFeed’s next most shared article on Twitter. The reason for the success may be simple,  as we can see via BuzzSumo that the post was retweeted by the One Direction member himself to his 19m followers. A good example of content amplification by an influencer.

The BBC Twitter dominance is in no small part due to the success of the BBC’s Breaking News twitter account with over 13m followers. This is substantially larger than the Twitter followings of other publishers including BuzzFeed.

The Daily Telegraph performed relatively poorly on all networks except Twitter where it had two of the top ten most shared posts.

Google Plus and LinkedIn

The BBC also performs better than UK publishers and global publishers on Google Plus and LinkedIn. Its top posts on Google Plus were all about Football transfer rumours (soccer to those of you in the US) which received over 7,000 plus ones and its top posts on LinkedIn were primarily business related. However, the number of shares on these networks is very low compared to Facebook.


The Daily Mail performs by far the best on Pinterest in the UK. Their picture posts of the Queen, Prince George and Kate Middleton all doing well. The Queen proving most popular with 6,000 pins. However, Buzzfeed dominates pinterest globally, taking all the top most shared articles for the period. In the period its top performing content was 47 pieces of animal jewelry and the only 12 exercises you need to keep in shape.

The Most Shared Content of UK Publishers

There was a major news story about terrorist attacks in Paris during the of the periods we studied.  This had the potential to skew the most shared content. However, at the time our analysis was conducted articles on the Paris attacks did not dominate the most shared articles. The Daily Mail’s most shared post was about the attacks and one of their other articles on the attacks was in the top ten of their most shared posts. By contrast in the top ten most shared posts of the other publications only one was about the attacks in each case. The Mirror’s most shared article on the attacks was their 5th most shared, the Guardian’s was their 9th most shared post and the BBC’s was their 10th most shared.

By contrast articles about football were more dominant, reflecting the fact it really is the UK’s national game. Four of the BBC’s top ten most shared posts were about football. The presence of football was even more marked in the case of the Mirror with three of their four most shared posts in the month about football.


The Guardian’s most shared content tended to be more global and not about sport. Some of their best performing posts came from their US and World sections.

The nature of the Mirror’s content appears to be closer to BuzzFeed’s in many respects. If we look at their most shared articles over the last year we can see that two were quizzes and one was a vote. The top post headline was worthy of BuzzFeed “Giant spiders set to invade UK homes this autumn”.

BuzzFeed have become the masters of getting their quizzes shared. If we look at their most shared content for the last year, we can see that their three most shared articles were actually quizzes, amassing over 8m shares between the three of them.



How Are UK Publishers Performing Over The Last 12 Months?

You can see how publishers have been performing over the last year in terms of shared content by viewing this BuzzSumo search for the BBC, Guardian, Mirror, Daily Mail and Telegraph.

You can slice and dice this data as you desire. You can change the time period and switch from total shares to the most shares on a particular network. You can also restrict your search to review just one publisher or add another publisher of your choice. So what are you waiting for?



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