Which News Outlet Won Election Night on Facebook?

While Barack Obama and Mitt Romney battled it out for the Presidential Election, every news outlet battled for engagement on Facebook. PostAcumen analyzed which news outlet won, and how they did it.

For this analysis, we selected five major news outlets and monitored their activity on election day (11/6/2012).

The news outlets were:

  • CNN
  • Fox News
  • msnbc
  • The New York Times
  • USA Today

Going into election day, the pages had a varying amount of fans:

All of the news outlets posted between 6am and Midnight on Election Day (Central Time). Msnbc posted the most throughout the day—34 times, while Fox News posted the least—14 times. Content was essentially a balance between Photos and Links. Engagement per content type was as follows: Photo > Status > Link > Video.

Best Photos

Msnbc dominated the Pod’s general photos when sorted by PostAcumen Score (weighted engagement / fans).

However, USA Today’s “I voted!” photo was the most successful piece of content during the day. The “I voted!” photo received 18,257 Likes, 1,228 Comments, and 24,064 Shares with only 280k fans at the time:

Who Won Election Day?

When sorting by PostAcumen Scores, USA Today barely edged out the other news outlets. Looking at straight engagement (not per fan), Fox News dominated the field. However, the most impressive insight is that USA Today & msnbc were able to leverage over half the amount of engagement of the mega fan bases of CNN & The New York Times, with less than a quarter of the fans. This is the power of successful content and intelligent social strategies—small brands can out-engage big brands!

Benchmark Metrics

Msnbc lead the Pod in half of the engagement metrics (Likes, Comments, and Est. Reach). While USA Today lead in Shares and Est. Clicks. Fox News lead in estimated Virality, with USA Today and CNN following respectively. All of these engagement numbers are significantly above the average industry numbers of similar sized pages.


With Timeline, we’re able to see how content performed throughout the day. Dots represent posts, and the size of the dot represents the engagement levels. As you can see, around the time that President Obama was announced the winner, engagement soared for msnbc & USA Today. The New York Times and CNN also experienced an uptick in engagement as well.

When examining from 6pm to Midnight, the two most engaging posts were announcing Obama’s victory.


Overall, USA Today won the Election Day News coverage on Facebook. USA Today had a higher average PostAcumen Score for the day (114) and maintained a high level of engagement despite a smaller fan size than Fox News, The New York Times, and CNN.

USA Today had by far the best piece of content throughout the day: the “Share this if you voted!” photo, and they also had the most engaging Obama victory announcement out of the Pod.

Congratulations to USA Today for “Best Facebook Coverage” of the 2012 Presidential Election! 

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