Donald Trump is drowning out everything else on the internet
There’s just no getting away from Donald Trump right now.
With less than a week left until the election, Trump-related stories seem to be everywhere online. And that’s because people are clicking on them.
Data from digital-media tracking firm Newswhip compiled for Mashable showed that digital news outlets have seen huge portions of their Facebook engagement happen around Trump-related content.
For Vox.com, six out of 10 user interactions on Facebook were around Trump stories. For the Wall Street Journal and TheHill.com, that declined slightly to around five out of 10. The Huffington Post, CNN and New York Times were closer to four out of 10.
The right-leaning outlets ended up on either end of the spectrum, with ConservativeTribune.com at more than six out of 10, and Breitbart.com at two out of 10.
Of the 10 websites studied by Newswhip, Trump accounted for 38% of all engagements.
That social engagement is turning into clicks lots and lots of clicks. Parse.ly’s election tracker also shows that an incredible amount of traffic has been going to Trump stories (with Clinton relatively far behind). And where there is increasing demand, increasing supply is not far behind.
The data highlights just how ubiquitous Trump content has become, as well as how much of an appetite seems to remain among the media-consuming public.
By comparison, no other major topics have seen nearly as much reader interest.
“No other topic comes close in terms of sustained coverage or reader interest. For instance, articles on Syria have seen 6% of the views that articles on Trump have. The Olympics? 17% of the traffic,” Clare Carr, vice president of marketing at Parse.ly, told Mashable.
The media’s election coverage, both in terms of content and volume, has been the subject heavy scrutiny throughout the election. Cable news has received the brunt of the criticism for covering Trump far more than other candidates, particularly during the race for the Republican nomination.
Media coverage has been partially credited with helping Trump, with the nominee himself at one time boasting about the media’s attention as “free advertising.” In the past few weeks, that tone has changed as women have come forward in numerous news outlets to accuse Trump of sexual assault. Now, he’s accusing the press of being part of a widespread conspiracy to keep him from the presidency.
At some point, though, it would stand to reason that people would become fatigued by Trump news. They’re certainly saying they’re tired of it, with a Pew Research study finding more than one-third of social media users saying they’re worn out by the sheer volume of political stories.
this election needs to end so the media can once again focus on what really matters: getting me pictures of spider man
dan chamberlain (@amfmpm) November 2, 2016
Sure, people might be tired of Trump stuff, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t strike a nerve. And striking a nerve, especially in the social media-driven era of this election, is what gets people to click.
“We find over and over again our content on social media that evokes an emotion in someone tends to do well,” said Vox director of programming Allison Rockey. “When you’re evoking some sort of emotion in someone, whether it’s anger or outrage at some of the Trump stories of the last week, or wether it’s a feeling of belonging to a political affiliation or a group of people, these are often stories we see doing quite well.”
Chances are, Trump will continue to strike at the nerves of people after the election, either as president or perhaps as head of a new media company. The theory that Trump will start some sort of TV or digital-based media operation has been percolating for a while, buoyed by stories that Trump surrogates have been talking to possible partners. Most recently, a casting notice went out for a new “up-and-coming” conservative news network. Trump’s campaign has also been broadcasting on Facebook Live in conjunction with a small digital startup.
Or, Trump wins and the internet spends the next four years with Trump content flooding the internet.
On the upside: