The Trump Effect: How the US election drove audiences to news sites

After yesterday’s US election and Donald Trump’s win to become the 45th President of the United States of America, Mumbrella spoke with some of Australia’s news sites to see how they covered the day and how audiences reacted. 


Danny Wheeler, website editor at The Daily Telegraph:


“It’s been pretty crazy, from a digital point of view, this past 36 hours, not just for us but for all the mastheads within News Corp Australia.

“With these mega-international events, you’re never sure how much a local website will benefit but The Daily Telegraph, Herald Sun and The Courier-Mail all boasted huge figures, but for different stories.

“The Herald Sun and Courier-Mail both did very well out of the network’s live blog, whereas our best performing story was the interactive results map, which is still rating as How America Voted.

“We kept it very simple – as it took a while to load – and ran just a few pars and a couple of links but updated the headline regularly with new lines such as ‘Trump takes Ohio’.

“It built and built in terms of momentum and our best traffic was from 4:00-5:00pm last night.

“At this point people were consuming every story we had, markets, the picture gallery, everything – including ‘The World Under Trump’, which was the newspaper story from the morning that we tweaked and resurfaced.

“We naturally supported all these stories with Facebook posts and regular Tweets. Traffic began to tail off from that point, although the figures were still strong, as consumers got home and, presumably, switched on their TVs.

“This morning, traffic is certainly higher than usual and the presidential race features in all but one of our top 10 stories.

“The top-rater is ‘Trump WTF’, our brilliant front page story, which has also had a very warm reception on Facebook and Twitter.

the-telegraph_20161110_telegraph_news_1“However, the world moves on and the absolute number one this morning is the yarn about the guy who got the $34,000 engagement ring for just a grand after taking the jewellers to court.”

Fairfax Media editorial director Sean Aylmer:

Alymer: strike action is unlawful.

“In a big news year, yesterday’s US election result was the highest traffic day by a considerable margin on the SMH and The Age.

“Traffic was focused primarily on the live blog, which attracted 1.6 million page views across the network, 50% higher than the next biggest this year.

“Readers spent the equivalent of 10 years of reading time transfixed on the live results map. Interest peaked around 3:00-4:00pm as the result became imminent. Readers also responded favourably to the on-the-ground coverage of our reporting teams operating out of the US.”


Nine.com.au logo

“Across the Nine Digital properties, including nine.com.au, 9honey.com.au and 9Now, traffic surged as the world began to grapple with the possibility, and then the reality, that Donald Trump was on a path to victory.


“On Nine’s main television channel, we had live coverage of events with Karl Stefanovic and Laurie Oakes, with the broadcast also available on our news websites and live streaming and on-demand platform, 9Now, and from the moment the world realised that Trump could win Florida traffic began to build and stayed strong throughout the afternoon.

“On nine.com.au it was the single biggest day on the website since the Abbott/Turnbull leadership spill of September 2015, with a 30% spike in normal traffic. The live stream of Stefanovic and Oakes’ broadcast on the homepage recorded the most streams since the Sydney siege of December 2014.

“While Trump might have won among Americans, a poll of more than 200,000 readers on the nine.com.au homepage saw Hillary Clinton beat Trump 55% to 45%.


“Traffic on the nine.com.au and 9news.com.au websites has remained strong this morning.

“The 9Honey network lifestyle website also did well with posts on Trump and Clinton both achieving reach of more than 100,000 each on Facebook – Will a female president make a difference and 21 offensive thing Donald Trump has said.



“Interestingly, it appears that following the shock of Trump’s election there were also a spikes on parenting site 9Mums and 9Elsewhere as consumers looked for non-news related content with a piece by Melinda Ayre on why we need to stop judging mum also doing very well in the afternoon.

“On 9Now the viewing public tuned in and remained with the live stream broadcast, that by 4:00pm had turned into a marathon for both Stefanovic and Oakes. Over the course of the day –  from about 10:00am to 5:00pm traffic – 9Now streams were up on last week anywhere from between 1000% and 2000%, with traffic peaking at around 4:00pm.”


9Now live streams over the course of yesterday. Blue line yesterday, orange line last week.

“As Australians came home to watch the television news Nine News was the number one program last night across the five mainland capitals with people aged 25-54. It was also the number one program with total people in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.”

Chris Paine, news editor at Huffington Post Australia:


“We drew upon the strong political coverage on the ground from The Huffington Post’s U.S. team and delivered it in a digestible way for our audience. American politics is in the HuffPost DNA. In the Sydney office, our staff was dedicated to monitoring and sourcing the best content available right across the day, keeping in constant contact with our counterparts in the U.S.

“The driving force of our coverage was informed by live journalism: a central, rolling news story and a world-class election graphic that updated in real time – votes counted, battleground States and an electoral college breakdown.

“One of the highlights was how we responded to the shifting momentum towards Trump – unexpected in many ways – with agility. This allowed us to be prepared for the changing narrative as it unfolded in front of our eyes.

“I was also happy with how we identified and pursued local angles. Of course, all eyes were on America, but we managed to step back and reflect the shock being expressed all around us. Josh Butler’s piece about a ‘Trump’s Mates’ event featuring Mark Latham and Ross Cameron was a fascinating insight into that, while Anthony Sharwood spoke to finance experts to make sense of the likely impact of Donald Trump’s presidency on our share market and economic outlook.

“The audience response was very strong. We anticipated our readers coming to us early and often for the coverage that they expect from The Huffington Post, and that was extremely evident across the day.

“The two biggest peaks corresponded with the big moments – where Trump’s momentum took full force with wins in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina – and where inevitably of Donald Trump securing the Presidency became clear. The latter, as it happened, coincided with the evening commute.

“It was clear that our readers had a strong appetite for the coverage as they came to terms with the result on their way home. My Facebook feed was wall-to-wall with the election last night, and our readers were turning to The Huffington Post Australia to make sense of it.”

Cameron Tomarchio, deputy editor at news.com.au:


“Planning for election day was months in the making, but no-one could have predicted just how significant a day it would turn out to be.

“In the lead-up everyone from the newsroom team through to our product developers was involved to ensure we made the most of our content.

“The newsroom roster was essentially turned on its head to make it afternoon-heavy in preparation for the results rolling in and the all-important reaction once Donald Trump ultimately created history. From a product perspective, an interactive vote tally proved crucial as it enabled our readers to follow the election results in real time.

News.com.au experienced a dramatic lift in traffic throughout the day in comparison with a regular day. The jump was most evident firstly when the results started rolling in before lunchtime our time, and then as it became apparent Trump may, in fact, produce a surprise victory about mid-afternoon.

“The numbers remained exceptionally strong into the evening once the result was known as readers took in the reaction and analysis.

News.com.au had its third biggest day on record, with 2,449,367 unique browsers yesterday (Nielsen Market Intelligence).

“In the early part of the day, a live blog pulling in key moments from the polling booths and a separate story taking in the latest results as they rolled in combined with a live tally interactive were immensely popular.

“Once the result came through, attention quickly turned to the reaction – two highlights being what Trump as president meant for Australia and an impassioned speech from political commentator Van Jones about what he described as a “nightmare” result.”


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