By HOWARD POLSKIN, September 13, 2018
Infowars was the fastest-growing conservative news and opinion website in August, according to my research based on SimilarWeb data.
That’s right, Infowars. You know the company banned from many social media platforms, scorned by mainstream press, denounced by many, and headed by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. The guy who said that the Newton shooting was a hoax. I won’t go into more specifics of his theories because I don’t want my readers to vomit on their expensive mobile devices. But if you’ve got the stomach you can read this Rolling Stone article, which lists seven of Jones’ more outrageous claims.
Traffic to Infowars surged 32% in August-over-July audience visits. That is the largest percentage increase by far of any leading conservative website that I followed for August. Furthermore, it was largest number of audience visits to the website since October 2017 when I first began tracking traffic to right-wing media outlets.
What’s interesting – and alarming if your political sensibilities are to the left of crazy – is how Infowars compares to other websites in the news and opinion space. Infowars’ highly opinionated content skews way toward the far-right fringe but its audience size is definitely mainstream. It is pulling traffic numbers that overshadow those of news brands that have been pillars of the educated class for decades. Additionally, Infowars has drawn more audience visits than overtly liberal news sites like Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo.
Just take a look at these figures with August audience visits based on SimilarWeb date:
INFOWARS/24,980,000 August audience visits
NY Daily News/23,080,000
New York Magazine/21,860,000
The Boston Globe/15,160,000
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/11,910,000
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune/11,230,000
Talking Points Memo/9,430,000
Based on audience visits for the month of August, Infowars was the fifth ranked U.S. conservative website in TheRighting’s most recent top 20 list of right-wing websites. It was topped by Fox News, Breitbart, The Daily Caller and The Daily Wire. However, audience visits to Infowars also exceeded right-wing icons like The National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Washington Times and Chris Ruddy’s Newsmax.
The Drudge Report is a massive driver of traffic to Infowars, accounting for 59% of its audience. SimilarWeb data reveals that the average visit duration is three minutes and 22 seconds.
While I’m not sure exactly why there’s been such a big increase in Infowars’ August audience visits, I’d speculate that the massive mainstream press coverage about the Infowars ban from platforms like Twitter, Facebook and the Apple App store drove more visits. It certainly created more brand audience awareness.
It will be interesting to see if the additional audience that visited Infowars in August likes what it sees and stays around. That will tell us a lot about where the size of the Infowars audience is heading going into 2019. And it also might be a clue as to what may happen in the midterm elections.
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