Election Drives Traffic Surge To News Sites

A thirst for election news drove increased traffic to news and election sites this week. Statistics from Nielsen/Netratings, comScore Networks and Google showed significant increases in election related traffic and queries.

comScore Networks reported significant increases for both JohnKerry.com and GeorgeWBush.com for both November 1st and Election Day, November 2nd. On November 1st, Bush led with 317,000 daily visitors (a 128 percent change vs. average of the previous four corresponding days) to Kerry’s 306,000 visitors (a 103 percent spike). On November 2nd, that percentage flip-flopped. Kerry (online at least) actually beat Bush 480,000 to 382,000 (a 128 percent change vs. average of the previous four corresponding day to Bush’s 101 percent change).

Traffic to Fastest Growing Sites,
November 1 & 2, (US, Home)
Site 11/01/04
AOL Elections 471 1,996 324%
Associated Press 267* 1,035 288%
CBS News 178* 628 253%
MSN Slate 153* 412 169%
MSNBC 1,138 2,770 143%
Fox News 503 1,179 134%
CNN 1,572 3,305 110%
Electoral-vote.com 239* 453 90%
ABCNEWS Digital 308 519 69%
NewsMax.com 154* 249* 62%
* These web sites do not meet minimum sample size standards.
Projected and average measures for these sites may exhibit
large changes day to day as a result.
Source: Nielsen//NetRatings, November 2004

The most visited news site on Nov 2nd, as ranked by Comscore, was CNN with 5,607,000 visitors. This was an increase of 63 percent over November 1st traffic. Nielsen/NetRatings also ranked CNN in the lead, though with different numbers. The company reported a 110 percent increase in traffic for CNN from Nov 1 — 2. CNN was also the top Google media query on November 2nd.

Google ranked FoxNews in second place for media queries on election day. The position was echoed by Comscore, which reported 1,811,000 visitors to Foxnews.com on Nov. 2, a 73 percent change vs. the average of the previous four corresponding days. Nielsen/NetRatings ranked FoxNews third, at 1,179 visitors for November 2nd. In the Nielsen/Netratings numbers, MSNBC came in at number two in terms of election day traffic, with 2,770 (with a growth of 143 percent over November 1). Google reported MSNBC as its number three top media query for November 2nd.

Overall, AOL Elections was the winner in Nielsen/Netratings’ statistics for percentage traffic growth (324 percent) from November 1 – 2. comScore’s numbers showed DailyKos, the political blog, as having a 259 percent increase in traffic on election day as a percentage vs. the average four previous corresponding days. The Washington Post’s site also posted impressive traffic on November 2nd, a 98 percent gain. The Drudge Report also scored well, with 978,000 visitors on November 2 according to comScore. According to Google, it was the number 9 media query, putting it ahead of queries for the Associated Press.

Election-Related Sites – Monday & Tuesday
Daily Visitors % Chg vs. Average
Of Four Previous
Corresponding Days
11/1/2004 11/2/2004 11/1/2004 11/2/2004
News Sites
foxnews.com 1,042,000 1,811,000 17% 73%
cnn.com 3,668,000 5,607,000 9% 63%
nytimes.com 813,000 944,000 15% 32%
washingtonpost.com 689,000 1,137,000 16% 98%
c-span.org N/A 62,000 -9% 455%
drudgereport.com 686,000 978,000 20% 60%
Blog Sites
blogspot.com* 325,000 333,000 23% 10%
typepad.com* 80,000 95,000 24% 30%
dailykos.com 34,000 86,000 95% 259%
wonkette.com N/A 31,000 128% 241%
Campaign Sites
johnkerry.com 306,000 480,000 103% 128%
georgewbush.com 317,000 9382,000 128% 101%
*Blogspot and Typepad host thousands of blogs (e.g. xyz.blogspot.com)
Source: comScore Networks

“The dramatic spike in traffic to key political and news sites demonstrates how important the Internet was in following this close presidential election,” said Nielsen//NetRatings’ Ken Cassar, director of strategic analysis, in a statement. “Online surfers flocked to these sites due to their 24/7 access, variety of viewpoints, and in-depth coverage of the race.”