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Unilad and LadBible Facebook engagement slides following acquisition


By John McCarthy | Opinion editor

November 7, 2018 | 4 min read

LadBible and Unilad, both now under the same umbrella, suffered a precipitous drop in Facebook engagements in October, according to data from social media engagement firm Newswhip.

The Unilad Bible

The LadBible Group sees lowered engagement

It found that the two publishers, who were the two most engaged titles on Facebook in September and prior, have dived in the Newswhip rankings after LadBible’s acquisition of its troubled rival.

Unilad and LadBible respectively claimed the first and second spots in September in the Newswhip rankings, which measures the performance of titles by weighing up Facebook likes, shares and comments across the English-language web.

In September, Unilad boasted 32.5m engagements and LadBible 28.9m. This was despite Unilad entering administration during this period where staff were widely locked out of systems that could keep the publisher ticking over.

One month later, the lads took a tumble down the list to be replaced by CNN and The New York Times at the top of the rankings with 34.6m and 32.8m engagements respectively. This was the second consecutive month both CNN and The New York Times enjoyed a 1.5 increase in Facebook engagement.

Meanwhile, LadBible dropped to 13th and Unilad 17th, both almost halving their engagement. Despite this, the silver lining is that each title boasted two of the highest average engagements per article in the rankings. Furthermore, they both had the stories with the highest percentage of comments on Facebook. Unilad's publishing frequency, in particular, was reduced due to its operational difficulties.


The report read: “The two publishers have figured out a way to encourage comments by creating stories that are actionable, relevant, and prompt an agreement or disagreement.”

Newswhip outlined that 13 of the top 20 were related to US political issues, linked to 6 November’s midterm elections. Signifying this, the Daily Wire and Breitbart, rose into the top ten this month.

The Drum has contacted the LadBible Group for comment on the decline.

When the merger was rubber-stamped, a LadBible spokesperson told The Drum: "As of today, LadBible Group and Unilad Group are now united under the same roof. This transforms the media landscape worldwide. Bringing these brands together makes us the largest social video publisher ever, and a youth media brand to be reckoned with, having over 120 million followers across our social channels. In August alone, our combined videos were viewed 4.5bn times."

LadBible chief Arian Kalantari added at the time: "In the coming weeks, we will be working on the strategy for our expanded business – no sudden decisions will be made about the structure. We’re ensuring we’ve got the right people in the right places over the next couple of months. It’s a new era with exciting times and opportunities ahead.”

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