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With Most Adults Finding News Online, Sites Try to Reach and Engage Audiences

August 7, 2017

[julia tim]
[julia tim]

In the United States, 93 percent of adults get news online, either via mobile or desktop devices, Pew Research Center finds.

The internet now hosts digital versions of news outlets that began in print or broadcast forms, plus “born on the web” news organizations. In the latter category, Pew analyzed news outlets whose primary website averaged at least 10 million unique visitors — who might view multiple pages of a site during a single visit — per month during the fourth quarter of each year studied. Thirty-six such outlets existed in 2016.

For these sites, the average number of monthly unique visitors during the fourth quarter increased 12 percent in 2016 to nearly 23 million, according to comScore, an audience-measurement company. The average visit lasted 2.4 minutes. Sixty-one percent of these news outlets offer apps for at least one of the two main mobile platforms, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. Forty-two percent have apps for both platforms, while 17 percent offer users just an iOS app and 3 percent have only an Android app.

These so-called digital native news outlets are trying different methods to attract audiences. Ninety-seven percent offer newsletters and 92 percent have an official presence on Apple News. Three-quarters release podcasts and 61 percent allow readers to comment on articles. One hundred percent have accounts on Facebook and Twitter, 97 percent on YouTube and 92 percent on Instagram. Just 25 percent have accounts on Snapchat. — Greg Beaubien

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