Right-wing news sites saw the biggest year-on-year growth in the US in April, according to Press Gazette’s analysis of visits to the most popular English-language news websites.
The Epoch Times, which has become a home for anti-China conspiracy theories around coronavirus, was the single fastest-growing site according to data from web analytics firm SimilarWeb. Visits to another pro-Trump site, Newsmax, increased by 171% to 29.4 million while visits to right-wing video platform Bitchute were up 150% to 19.3 million.
Also in the top five for year-on-year growth was far-right site thegatewaypundit.com, whose founder and editor-in-chief, Jim Hoft, was permanently suspended from Twitter in February for sharing false news about the US election. The site saw visits increase by 41% to 25.5 million.
Among the sites with the biggest year-on-year falls in traffic were several mainstream national news brands and business titles. Forbes.com saw the biggest fall in traffic as visits decreased by 54% to 53.2 million. Meanwhile, visits to The Atlantic’s site were down by 52% to 21 million and visits to newsweek.com were down by 50% to 22.7 million. Like for like comparisons will be impacted by the huge traffic to coronavirus-related content a year ago.
When it comes to monthly growth in visits, investigative tabloid RawStory came out on top. Visits to the site were 4% higher at 17.7 million in April. The New York Post and the Chicago Tribune and the Daily Wire also saw small traffic increases of 1%.
Despite the growth of some smaller players, the website of cable broadcaster CNN has by far the biggest audience share overall. Cnn.com was the most visited site in April with 410.9 million visits. This was followed by nytimes.com (273.9 million visits) and foxnews.com (244.1 million visits). British sites BBC.co.uk and BBC.com also made it into the top 10 with 113.1 million visits, as did dailymail.co.uk with 89.1 million visits in April.
Taken as whole, there were significantly fewer visits to the current top 50 sites this month compared to April 2020. The current top 50 sites racked up a combined 3 billion visits in April compared to 4.1 billion visits in the same month last year. The only sites among the top 50 that saw year-on-year traffic increases were theepochtimes.com, newsmax.com, bitchute.com, usmagazine.com, thegatewaypundit.com, apnews.com, usnews.com, startribune.com and people.com.
Compared with last month, there were 7% fewer visits to the leading 50 sites combined in April (3.1 billion compared to 3.3 billion in March).
SimilarWeb generates its traffic data by applying machine learning and modelling to statistically representative datasets that the company collects. Datasets are based on direct measurement (i.e. websites and apps that choose to share first-party analytics with SimilarWeb); contributory networks that aggregate device data; partnerships and public data extraction from websites and apps.
Visit data is based on desktop and mobile web visits. A visit (session) means that a visitor has accessed one or more pages in a website. Subsequent page views are included in the same visit until the user is inactive for more than 30 minutes.
Press Gazette uses SimilarWeb data for its digital traffic analysis stories so we can compare figures across publishers, who differ in how they measure their own audience data.
Note: Press Gazette will be updating this page on a monthly basis. See our previous coverage here:
Biggest news websites in the world archive data
- March 2021: Top 50 news websites in the world for March 2021: Times and Telegraph two fastest growers
- February 2021: Top 50 largest news websites in the world: Sputnik, Drudge and Fox see biggest traffic falls in February
- December 2020: Top 50 largest news websites in the world: Surge in traffic to Epoch Times and other right-wing sites
- November 2020: Top 50 largest news websites in the world revealed: Controversial pro-Trump sites were fastest-growing in US election month