High-Traffic News Sites Have Strong Social Media, Newsletter Outreach

  • by July 29, 2021
News websites with the highest traffic have embraced social media and email newsletters to help drive online visits. News aggregation apps also are a popular way to raise visibility, according to Pew Research Center.

The nonprofit studied 97 news outlets whose flagship websites averaged at least 10 million unique visitors a month, making them popular sources of digital news. Their average traffic rose 11% from a year earlier to 32.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, according to Pew’s analysis of Comscore data.

News sites rely on a variety of methods to extend their outreach among digital audiences. Ninety-five percent of the outlets studied have a presence on Flipboard, the news aggregation and social media app, compared with the 88% who distribute content through Apple News.

Nearly three quarters (73%) of news publishers have apps for either Android or Apple’s iOS, the two main mobile platforms, Pew found in an audit of the sites.

Plus, email newsletters are a popular method of reaching readers, with 93% of news outlets pushing them into people’s inboxes. With more audiences spending time with podcasts, 75% of news sites offer such audio content to listeners.
Only 39% of news sites allow comments on articles, which provide another way to readers to engage with reporters and editors. However, they also can be a source of aggravation when internet trolls use comment sections to attack others or spread misinformation.
As for the most popular social media platforms, all news outlets have a presence on Facebook and Twitter, followed by Instagram (96%) and YouTube (93%). Only 57% have a presence on social video app TikTok, while only 26% are on photo-messaging app Snapchat. Those two platforms tend to be most popular with Generation Z, presenting an opportunity to cultivate younger audiences.



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