2020 is just two months away and with it comes a new year of breaking stories, inventive technologies, and a presidential election in the United States. Becoming the go-to source for American readers will be pivotal in the year ahead for news & media organizations.
To achieve this, they will need to know what audiences care about and where they currently go to consume content. Tailoring article titles to top issues and tracking how that differs by state over time can help publications win with readers online.
To better understand the political landscape in America, this report will answer:
- Which types of publications are Americans reading?
- How does that differ by state?
- Which issues are most important to each state and which are less searched for?
Political Landscape of America: Top Trends Ahead of the 2020 Election
CNN attracts the largest audience, Fox has the highest engagement
With the Democratic primary debates, impeachment discussion and climate change protests, it’s fitting that traffic to News & Media sites has grown +16%YoY in Q3 2019.
Publications like CNN, NBC, The New York Times and The Washington Post, are receiving the highest share of visitors to the News & Media industry. NBC News had the highest growth entering the top 10 this year.
Other titles, including Fox News and The New York Post, are also popular sources of information. Readers actually visited Fox News 42 times over the 13 week period, which is over 3x per week, making it the most engaging publication among the top 10.
Top News & Media Sites by Visitors
13 weeks ending 9/28/19
2. NY Times
3. Fox News
4. USA Today
5. Washington Post
7. NBC News
8. NY Post
9. CBS News
10. Express UK
Source: Hitwise, US. Top News & Media sites by unique visitors, 13 weeks ending 9/28/19.
Swing States Swing in Publications
Traditional red states, such as Alabama and Georgia, consume right-leaning content and traditional blue states, like New York and Vermont, read from left-leaning publications, but there are exceptions to the rule.
Illinois residents are more likely to read Fox News or The Washington Examiner than they are the New York Times or Huffington Post.
North Carolina, Tennessee and swing state Ohio are among the top over-indexing states for CNN and NBC News.
In fact, Ohio’s top over-indexed publications are CNN and Fox News. While Ohio spans the spectrum, other swing states leaned more in one direction over Q3. Floridians were most likely to read NBC, while Arizona residents were 24% more likely to read Breitbart.
Source: Hitwise, US. Index of Top Publications by State to standard US online population, 13 weeks ending 9/28/19.
Themes Top of Mind for Americans
With the 2020 election on the horizon, it’s essential for publications to understand which issues Americans care most about.
Social security, climate change and healthcare are themes that the highest rate of Americans searched for during Q3 2019.
‘Women’s rights’ is the topic several states are most likely to search for, including New Mexico, Louisiana, Hawaii and Wisconsin. Residents of New Mexico are nearly 600% more likely to search for women’s rights than the average American.
Certain states, like California, over-index on all themes, indicating that this is a key market to win media share from.
Source: Hitwise, US. Index of political issues by state to standard US online population, 13 weeks ending 9/28/19.
Now that we know states’ affinities for key themes and publications, which publications are over-indexing on those key issues?
Each of the top 10 publications is more likely to over-index on the economy, a top issue in the upcoming election.
Six of these publications are more likely to receive traffic from ‘women’s rights’ searches. People who search for ‘climate change’ are 44% more likely to visit Breitbart, the highest likelihood of any publication.
Understanding which publications already over-index for key topics can allow the industry to refocus and grow readership online.
Source: Hitwise, US. Index of political issues by publication to standard US online population, 13 weeks ending 9/28/19.
Political Landscape in America
Analyzing the online American audience begins with an understanding of where they currently consume content. While more people are visiting CNN, engagement on Fox News is higher, showing that there is a chance to engage readers across the political spectrum.
Understanding search keywords by state can provide publications and agencies with an opportunity to tailor their content on a regional level. While understanding which publications already over-index for key topics can allow the industry to refocus and grow readership online.
Once you have a foundational understanding of what online audiences are interested in, the next step is to engage and grow the readership base.
Be sure to click the link below to gain further insight on how to strategize for and access tactics on:
- Using search to track seasonal trends
- Leveraging article titles to get share on breaking news
- Proving the value of high engagement audiences
Interested in accessing tactics to grow online readership?
Read on to Part Two to discover strategies that can expand your online presence and engage targeted audiences.