The success of inbound marketing is palpable: Content marketers produce conversion rates six times higher than those who don’t adopt similar strategies. It should come as no surprise then that content marketing is on the rise. Not only are more marketers committing to content marketing, but the percentage of total marketing budgets allocated to content marketing has increased from 13 percent to 23 percent in the past two years (and is even expected to reach 33 percent in two more years).

The level of audience engagement is a major source of this success. While some publishers like The Huffington Post and The Washington Post have large, built-in audiences across a variety of verticals, their levels of engagement can vary significantly and can even be beaten by smaller publishers. With this in mind, Fractl and BuzzStream recently set out to discover which domains have the most engaged audiences in five primary verticals: women, politics, business/finance, science and technology.

To determine the top publishers, we used BuzzSumo to retrieve the sharing metrics on more than 30,000 relevant articles relating to the five verticals between May 2014 and April 2015, totaling a staggering 58 million social shares. We then used BuzzSumo to retrieve the top 1,000 articles in each vertical published between May 2014 and April 2015. With this data, we narrowed down the 10 publishers in each vertical with the highest number of total shares.

Here, we’ll break down five key takeaways that will help you maximize your outreach during your next promotions cycle:

1. The women’s vertical has the highest level of engagement.

When it comes to social shares, the women’s vertical dominates. The most-shared publisher within the vertical, The Huffington Post, earned 92 percent more than the top performer in the second highest–performing vertical, politics. The most-shared article within the vertical also earned nearly 110 percent more shares than the top-performing article in the lowest-performing vertical, technology. Additional analysis revealed the following:

  • The top three articles within the women’s vertical earned 86 percent more shares than the top three articles in the business/finance vertical.
  • Mondays earned the most shares per women’s vertical articles (more than 5,100 shares) while Sundays produced the fewest shares.
  • The women’s vertical earned more Pinterest shares than any other vertical (nearly 200 percent more than the politics vertical), which earned the fewest Pinterest shares.

2. The Huffington Post is the only publisher to make it into all five verticals.

The Huffington Post is arguably one of the best-known publishers and for good reason: It earned one of the top three spots in all five verticals. However, although it was one of the most popular publishers, it only managed to earn one of the top three most-shared articles in all five verticals. Further insights revealed these key points:

  • The Huffington Post was the most-shared publisher in two verticals: women and technology.
  • The publisher earned nearly 120 percent more shares within the business/finance vertical than USA Today and CNN combined.
  • Politics and technology proved to be the most difficult verticals: The Huffington Post earned fewer than one million shares in each vertical.
  • Within the science vertical, the publisher earned nearly 120 percent more shares than the NY Times, the lowest-performing publisher within the vertical.

3. Technology is a tough vertical for all publishers.

Our data indicates that most publishers have a hard time earning shares through stories that focus on technology; the vertical earned fewer than four million shares total. The top publisher, The Huffington Post, earned fewer than 800,000 shares (in comparison, the publisher earned more than 10 million shares within the women vertical). The lowest-performing publisher within the vertical, Gizmodo, earned a little more than 100,000 shares. A closer look at the data indicated these details:

  • The Huffington Post earned more than 10 percent more shares than Gizmodo, BuzzFeed, CNN and CNET combined.
  • The NY Times produced two of the most-shared articles within the vertical.
  • Compared with the most-shared article in the science vertical, technology’s most-shared article earned 107 percent fewer shares.
  • The vertical had one of the most diverse set of shares: It only earned 70 percent or fewer of its shares through Facebook.

4. Conservative-leaning publishers have a strong hold on the politics vertical.

When it comes to politics and publishers, two conservative-leaning publishers dominate the competition: Headline Politics and CainTV (2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s website) earned the most shares. Collectively, they earned more than six million total shares – nearly 95 percent more shares than the third-leading publisher, The Huffington Post. And when compared with total shares within the entire vertical, the two publishers earned more than 85 percent.

However, the vertical itself was low performing overall. Collectively, it earned fewer than eight million shares, defeating only the technology vertical. Additional analysis revealed the following points:

  • Four publishers (The Hill, ThinkProgress, Politico and CNN) earned fewer than 100,000 shares each.
  • Headline Politics earned 30 percent more shares than CainTV.
  • The vertical earned less than 1 percent of its shares through Pinterest, Google+ and LinkedIn.

5. A majority of verticals earn the lowest amount of shares over the weekend.

Although there’s no a one-day-fits-all formula when it comes to publishing content, our data indicates that a good rule of thumb is to publish during the week. Low shares on weekends were a common trend for every vertical, while specific weekday traffic varied. Some verticals tend to earn high shares during the middle of the week (technology) while others do better on Mondays or Fridays (politics and science). Further analysis revealed these points:

  • Technology earned most of its shares on Wednesdays – more than 550 percent more shares compared with Sunday, its lowest-performing day.
  • Monday barely beat Friday as the top day to share within the politics vertical with fewer than 1 percent difference.
  • Business/finance earned the lowest shares of all five verticals on the weekend – fewer than 800 shares per article on Saturday and Sunday.

The goal for this study was to determine which publishers earn the most engagement for multiple verticals. Our data indicates that connecting your content to the women’s vertical can help you optimize social traction, while similar results might be more difficult within the technology vertical. We also explored more deeply to identify the specific writers in each vertical who drive the most engagement. We encourage you to check out our full report on the top 10 writers for each vertical. Again, although results can vary as the world of digital publishing continues to grow, applying these insights to your next promotions cycle will help you maximize your outreach efforts.