OAN, Newsmax, Gateway Pundit saw traffic spike in 2020
Far-right, pro-Trump news sites saw their web traffic grow by triple digits in 2020, according to a study by web traffic company SimilarWeb.
Newsmax, OAN and Gateway Pundit all saw their traffic grow by triple digits.
Traffic to oann.com grew by 148 percent to 76.9 million visits; at newsmax.com it grew by 141 percent to 223 million, and at thegatewaypundit.com traffic rose by 109 percent to 309.8 million.
The three news sites and others like them have come under greater scrutiny in the wake of the mob attack on the U.S. Capitol, when hundreds of pro-Trump supporters overwhelmed Capitol Police and forced the evacuation of lawmakers.
Many in the crowd had been convinced by baseless media reports that widespread election fraud had caused President Trump to lose the 2020 election.
Trump had given air to false conspiracy theories surrounding the election, as had Newsmax and OAN, which saw their viewership grow in the weeks following the election after Fox News called the results for President Biden — as did other networks.
Newsmax provided an unusual clarification after it had given air to conspiracy theories that Dominion and Smartmatic voting systems had been used to help with Biden’s victory. The clarification said it had no evidence that software used by the companies had been used to manipulate votes in the election.
The study examined web traffic for the 100 fastest growing digital brands and focused on websites in several commercial categories including apparel, electronics, beauty and travel while also examining the web traffic of news and media websites.
Though the growth of traffic at left-leaning sites was smaller, it was still in the double digits and in some cases, the overall traffic was significantly larger than that of their right-leaning counterparts.
Theintercept.com saw its audience traffic grow 56 percent to 49.3 million while theguardian.com’s traffic grew 53 percent to 961.7 million. And audience traffic at theweek.com grew 30 percent to 84.1 million.
But while the growth of left-leaning sites was significant, SimilarWeb found that it was not as exceptional as the growth at right-leaning sites. According to the study, traffic at the top 100 U.S. news and media sites grew by 24 percent year-over-year in 2020. However, with traffic overall up 27.6 percent, the top 10 left-leaning sites were experiencing “normal industry shifts,” the study said.
Fans of the right-oriented sites appear to engage with those sites on average much longer than the fans of left-leaning sites. The average visit for the right-leaning sites was 3 mins and 49 seconds while the left was 2 minutes and 54 seconds.
Visitors to sites on the left also tended to be younger. Some 38 percent of visitors to left-leaning sites were under the age of 34. However, only 29 percent of visitors to the right-oriented sites were in that same age group. Overall, 55- to 64-year-olds were the largest demographic for right-leaning sites.
In addition, readers of the left-leaning sites were 41 percent female while only 36 of the right-leaning audience was female.
Despite last year’s strong news cycle, news and media sites saw nowhere near the growth in traffic that other, more consumer-oriented sites experienced. For example, apparel site bellewholesale.com saw its web traffic jump 1,274 percent while beauty-focused website youthtothepeople.com saw its web traffic rise more than 843 percent.
This story was updated at 4:24 p.m. to correct a statistic. Traffic to oann.com grew by 148 percent to 76.9 million visits; at newsmax.com it grew by 141 percent to 223 million, and at thegatewaypundit.com traffic rose by 109 percent to 309.8 million.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.