The Average Facebook User for 20 Publishers


Knowing your audience is critical not only for successful content marketing campaigns but also for any form of communication – highly targeted messages are what compel people to share your content. You can also find out a lot about who is sharing your content via social platforms, which is what we did in our latest study.

Partnering with Fractl, BuzzStream analyzed 20 publishers’ active Facebook users via Facebook’s Audience Insights to uncover key characteristics and determine if there were any overlaps or unique differences. We charted demographics such as gender, age, education, and profession and compared them with the average Facebook user to see how these publishers’ audiences align.


Facebook Audience Insights for NY Times

Here we’ll walk you through four key takeaways you’ll want to consider when pitching your next campaigns to top-tier publishers.

1. Men significantly outweigh women across the board with the 20 largest publishers.

We were surprised to discover how many publishers have a predominantly male audience. Four publishers – VICE, The Guardian, Wired, and ESPN – have audiences that are at least 94 percent male. Additional findings revealed the following:

  • Only two publishers – BuzzFeed and Yahoo! – have more women than men in their audiences at 51 and 56 percent, respectively.
  • Wired and The Guardian have the most males at 97 percent, while Yahoo! has the lowest number of males at 44 percent.
  • Half of the publishers – Mashable, BBC, The Washington Post, ESPN, Wired, The Guardian, Rolling Stone, Business Insider, Time, and VICE – have 30 percent or less women in their audience.

Gender Breakdown per Publisher

Interestingly, a majority of the male-dominated audiences fall between the ages of 25 and 34, while the ages of females tend to be less predictable. Only eight publishers’ female audiences fall between the ages of 25 and 34. Further analysis revealed that six publishers’ female readers are 45 years or older, while only one publisher – Fox News – has male readers 45 years or older.

2. More publishers’ audiences lean in favor of liberals than conservatives.

After considering users’ political affiliations, we discovered that most publishers’ audiences lean toward the left – 19 publishers have an audience in which 30 percent or more identify as liberals. Only nine publishers have an audience that is 30 percent or more conservative. Additional findings revealed more details:

  • The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal have the most moderate readers, with an equal percentage of liberals and conservatives.
  • Rolling Stone has the most liberal readers at 60 percent.
  • Seven publishers – Forbes, Business Insider, Yahoo!, NPR, VICE, Wired, and Rolling Stone – have an audience that is 50 percent or more liberal.

Political Orientation of Publisher’s Active User Base

3. Management is the least likely profession for most audiences when compared with the average Facebook user.

We discovered that management-level work is the least common profession for the audiences of 12 publishers – VICE, NPR, Time, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, Yahoo!, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, BBC, CNN, Mashable, and The New York Times – the most out of any other profession. BBC’s readers are the least likely, followed closely by VICE, The New York Times, and The Guardian. Further analysis revealed the following:

  • Media/entertainment is the strongest likelihood out of any other profession – Rolling Stone’s audience is 125 percent more likely work in this field than the average Facebook user.
  • Yahoo!’s audience is least likely to work in a science-related profession.
  • Only two publishers – Forbes and Wired – exceed a 10 percent likelihood in their audiences working at management level.

Job Breakdown for Publisher’s Active User Base

4. A majority of publishers’ audiences are more likely to have a college degree when compared with the average Facebook user.

The majority of these publishers’ audiences are well educated. Only three publishers – Fox News, Yahoo!, and CNN – dip below the average Facebook user in terms of earning a college degree as their highest level of education. When we looked at graduate school as the highest level of education, nine publishers – NPR, Time, Business Insider, Forbes, BuzzFeed, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, and USA Today – exceeded the average Facebook user. Additional analysis revealed these points:

  • NPR’s audience is 63 percent more likely to have a graduate degree – the highest out of any publisher.
  • Yahoo!’s audience is most likely to only have a high school diploma.
  • A reader at VICE is nearly 50 percent less likely to have completed grad school – the lowest out of any publisher.

Education Level Per Publisher

The biggest takeaway from our research? Keep these trends in mind when producing and promoting your next campaign. If you’re looking for specific placements, refer to key demographics for your targeted publication. If you’re wondering where your content will resonate most, look at specific of traits of that publication’s audience and tailor your pitch to align with those readers.