News organizations of all sizes and audiences generally agree that the top platform to connect with an audience and drive engagement with those audiences is on Facebook. There have been ebbs and flows in how much traffic and reach Facebook brings to a site or to individual posts, but since at least 2013, Facebook almost across the board over performs all other social platforms in terms of total audience engagement.

But which platform is #2 in engagement? Conventional Wisdom says that would be Twitter. But an analysis of Share Rocket data looking at the top 10 local TV news markets points to a different, newer platform: Instagram.

In order to form this conclusion, we looked at the social data for the last 90 days using two data points: engagement to audience and engagement per post. By looking at all the local TV news stations in the top 10 markets overall (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta and Houston) we see that Facebook has approximately 10 times the engagement to audience of Twitter, but just about 2 times the engagement to audience of Instagram. When it comes to engagement per post, Facebook has more than 82 times that of Twitter, but just 4 times more than Instagram.

But we can drill down further. Here are some market-specific stats:

– The top market for engagement to audience on Facebook is Atlanta, while the top market for engagement per post on Facebook is Los Angeles (with Atlanta second).

– The top market for engagement to audience on Instagram is San Francisco, while Los Angeles is top in engagement per post.

– Dallas is the top market for engagement to audience on Twitter, while Los Angeles once again wins engagement per post.

– New York, the #1 market, performs well on Facebook and Instagram (#3 and #2) but not as well on Twitter (#5) in engagement per post.

– Dallas is a significant underperformer on Instagram, last of the top 10 markets in engagement to audience. But Dallas overperforms on Twitter, the #1 market by a significant margin.

– The San Francisco market Instagram presence is so strong that it begins to beat other markets’ Facebook presence. San Francisco’s Instagram engagement to audience is higher than every top 10 market’s Facebook engagement to audience except Atlanta and Boston – the only market to top any Facebook engagement to audience averages. No Instagram engagement per post, however, is ahead of any other market’s engagement per post on Facebook.


Clearly Instagram is proving to be an integral part of any local TV news social strategy. While it currently can’t provide the click through to websites that happens on other social platforms, the engagement is significantly higher, and building relationships with a station’s brand can happen there with greater success. Facebook isn’t giving up its top spot any time soon, but a strong Instagram presence has skyrocketed past a massive Twitter audience in engaging with a social viewership.

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