In comparing the Facebook pages of the top 86 magazines by circulation, while those with the highest circulations generally had the highest number of Facebook fans, much like our newspaper study this presents a problem when trying to quantify engagement. In short, how do you avoid biasing your results towards magazines with a small, but engaged numbers of Facebook fans?

Bivings Group- Top Ten Facebook Magazines

For a magazine like Playboy with 2.3 million fans, what is the best approach  to compare engagement on their Facebook page to engagement on Time’s which has over 2 million fewer members? While there are some  statistical methods can compensate, at the end of the day we believe  it’s going to come down to a qualitative, rather than quantitative judgment. In this respect, we present our own views as to the top ten magazines on Facebook. Please check out our reasoning after the jump and visit our ImpactWatch blog   tomorrow to see all our data. If you agree / disagree or have a better method please let us know in the comments!

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  1. Playboy has the greatest number of Facebook fans with over 4 million – more than 3 times as many as the next most popular magazine. With an extensive number of options for fan interaction – including polls, videos, and a large number of photos – Playboy attracts an average of 5331 likes and 462 comments per post. That’s a healthy 44 times more likes and 18 times more comments than the average.  The page averages 4 posts per week day, with a post or two each day of the weekend. Content includes a broad range of pictures, sales and articles. Playboy is unique among the magazines in having more Facebook fans than subscribers.

  2. Reader’s Digest has an extensive number of tabs to keep their fans connected and involved. Tabs include integration of other social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube, plus a number of sweepstakes. Readers Digest has an average of 88 Likes and 82 comments per post. Fans stay engaged with an effective mix of discussion-provoking questions and links to magazine stories. Readers Digest is the highest circulating magazine in the country but despite having nearly 3.5 times the readership, RD’s fan base is less than 3% of Playboy’s.

  3. Parents : With an even ratio of engaging discussion posts and links to articles, Parents helps to keep their readers involved and interacting with one another. In addition to a tab dedicated to a weekly prize, there is a “Playground” tab that brings together a number of interactive stories, polls and links on one page to create interest.  Although Parents magazine has a targeted demographic, it ranks highly in circulation and number of Facebook fans.

  4. Maxim ’s Facebook page includes links to stories across a variety of interests, with a large number of videos available under the YouTube tab. Additionally, this page adds a new poll or quiz nearly every day to increase fan participation. Maxim averages 168 likes and 18 comments per post.

  5. Martha Stewart Living does an excellent job of tying in a number of social media platforms. This Facebook page includes tabs for Twitter, RSS/Blogs, Videos, as well as information on when to find Martha Stewart on TV. Fans are invited to share their own videos and pictures, and engage in discussions about the magazine’s stories.

  6. Better Homes and Gardens has the second highest circulation in the country, with over 7 million subscribers.  Its Facebook posts are a great blend of conversation topics and links to stories from its magazine. The unique “BHG Insider” and “BHG Red Plaid” tabs provide exclusive interactive content to fans.

  7. People Magazine boasts the third highest number of Facebook fans, with 871,042. It has an active Discussion tab relative to other magazines, as well as a large number of videos. The “Fans Only” tab gives readers a daily Hot Topic poll and provides a forum for discussion. With 426 likes and 135 comments per post on average, these engaging tabs keep the conversation going.

  8. Taste of Home encourages fan participation with a significant number of postings each day – usually 6 or 7. The posts are evenly distributed between story links, recipes, and discussion questions for fans.  While the Note tab had been regularly updated in 2009, it has fallen into disuse since then.

  9. Sports Illustrated has a remarkable number of unique tabs compared to other pages. These tabs let fans create their own brackets for the World Cup and provide their opinions on the Super Bowl contenders. External links lead to the iPad version of the magazine and other media platforms – including the Twitter feeds of several Sports Illustrated authors.

  10. TIME Magazine is the 10th most popular magazine by circulation in the U.S. as well as 10th on our list. This magazine is perhaps the least successful in using multimedia and other social media platforms, but makes up for it by adding new content on average 5 times every week day, and several times over the weekend. Despite relying on the basic Wall tab, a range of topics from new, politics and international interests keeps fans responding with an average of 94 likes and 27 comments per post.