On Facebook, Local TV News Isn’t So Local

Matt Karolian
Jul 12, 2017 · 2 min read

Local TV network affiliates always seem to be killing it on Facebook. They are dripping with video content and inevitably hit it big every week with a story that outrages, shocks or inspires driving a boatload of clicks.

I decided to take a closer look at the composition of the posts that do well on Facebook for these big network affiliates to see if I could spot any patterns. One characteristic that immediately jumped out at me was that their highest performing stories largely had nothing to do with the market they serve.

Using CrowdTangle I exported all of the posts made by the Boston network affiliates in a 7 day period and sorted them by performance. I included all posts that performed 10x that of one of their normal posts and labeled them either “local” or “non-local”. I found that more than half of local network affiliate stories analyzed had absolutely nothing to do with the market they serve.

7 Day Period from July 2017

Shocked by this, I did the same analysis on local print publications in Boston and found that the lion’s share of top performing stories were highly local. During the 7 days measured, 61% of top performing posts were locally focused.

7 Day Period from July 2017

When you count a local columnists take on a national stories as local, the percentages shift to show nearly a quarter of all top performing stories being counted as “local”.

7 Day Period from July 2017

I was truly taken aback by the difference in post makeup between the two different types of local news sources.

What do you think of these findings? Leave a comment below.

As with all of my medium posts, this was not proofread and probably contains tons of errors.

Matt Karolian
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