The Times spent 50% of its social budget on Facebook and 45% on Twitter, with the remaining 5% going to Instagram, while The Wall Street Journal spent 44% of its budget on Facebook, 54% on Twitter and 2% on Instagram.
Those findings are from a study by intelligence platform BrandTotal that focused on social media spend among the country’s top newspapers. As a point of comparison, it also
took note of the social spending habits of digital-first publishers, like Insider, NowThis, BuzzFee
The report, “Ad Strategy Snapshot: How Publishers Use Paid Social,” concludes Facebook rules among both groups.
For 30 days, running from late April to late May, BrandTotal analyzed all paid and organic social ad campaigns of top newspapers, based on circulation, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and USA Today.
The data showed legacy news outlets share some similar strategies.
USA Today showed similar results, with 46% of its budget going to Facebook and 54% going to Twitter.
The Washington Post focused the bulk of its budget on Facebook, with 96% going to the tech giant. The outlet spent 3% on Twitter and 1% on YouTube.
The data also showed The Wall StreetJournal and The New York Times spend the most on social campaigns among newspapers in comparison to digital-first outlets.
Alon Leibovich, cofounder-CEO of BrandTotal, stated: “Traditional news publishers are directing their ad budgets toward platforms optimized for sharing links and articles, such as Facebook and Twitter, since they rely on social media platforms as a primary traffic driver to their home pages.”
However, digital-first brands are still outpacing top newspapers.
Data showed that, though it didn’t spend any money on paid social ads, BuzzFeed still came out ahead of The Times and WSJ, recording 9 million engagements across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. The Times generated 6.5 million and the WSJ counted 6 million.
Digital-first companies heavily favor Facebook and Instagram for paid social campaigns.
“From our data, we’re seeing the majority of publishers are still leaning on Facebook as part of their paid social strategy, which potentially underscores the platform’s revenue potential for publishers,” Leibovich stated.
NowThis focused 52% of its budget on Facebook and 37% on Instagram, while Insider spent 85% of its budget on Facebook, with the remaining going to Twitter and YouTube. Cheddar dedicated 69% of its budget to Facebook and 28% to Twitter, with 3% going to Instagram.
Two outlets, though, focused nearly all, if not all, their social ad budget on Facebook. Vox spent 98% of its budget on Facebook, with 2% going to YouTube. Attn: spent the entirety of its social ad budget on Facebook.
The entire report can be found at BrandTotal.