Which newspaper websites get the most crossover readership?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
January 03, 2018, 10:44 AM GMT+0

YouGov Profiles looks at daily visitors to newspaper websites and which other publications’ sites they frequently visit

The national newspaper market in the UK has always been a crowded one, and with the advent of the internet newspapers must fight harder than ever to attract eyeballs.

Using data from the YouGov Profiles tool, we looked at how many people who are daily visitors to specific newspaper websites are also frequent (at least weekly) visitors to other newspaper websites.

The results show that the Daily Mail and the Guardian receive the highest levels of crossover visitors from other titles in general – unsurprising given they are two of the world’s most visited newspaper websites – while the Star, FT and the i receive the lowest levels.

Daily visitors to the Independent website are the most likely to be frequent visitors to another newspaper website, with 84% heading over to the Guardian website at least once a week.

At the other end of the spectrum, Daily Mail website visitors are the least likely to stray. Among those who do, The Guardian is again the most popular destination, but only 27% visit the publication at least once a week.

Crossover traffic is a one way street for some newspaper websites

There is a noticeable trend whereby readers of smaller publications also visit similar, larger, titles – possibly because of the relative scarcity of content on their preferred sites. Aside from the Independent readers heading to the Guardian, the results show 74% of i readers also looking in on the Independent, 78% of Express readers additionally visiting the Daily Mail website and 68% of Star readers frequently browsing the Sun website.

These relationships are not reciprocal, however. Only 15% of Sun readers check in on the Star website, and likewise only 20% of Daily Mail readers visit the Express website. The majority (56%) of Guardian readers do also visit the Independent website frequently, but this is still far below the 84% of Indy readers going the other way.

And while the i may have been spun out of the Independent, the younger publication does not appear to have taken a significant level of the older paper’s readers with it: only 27% of daily Independent readers check out the i at least once a week. Nevertheless, daily Independent readers are still the most likely to make at least a weekly visit to the i website.

The hard paywall at the Times looks like it may well be impacting crossover readership, attracting significantly fewer crossover visitors from broadsheet rivals the Guardian, Independent and Telegraph than vice versa.

In fact, it is daily Financial Times readers who are the most likely to crossover to the Times, at 40%. The FT has its own paywall (albeit a soft one), suggesting that many visitors are subscribers to more than one news website.

There are instances, however, where the lack of crossover readership might be seen in favourable terms. The data reveals the savvy behind behind Trinity Mirror's current bid for Northern & Shell (who own the Express and the Star): with only 18% and 15% of frequent Mirror visitors also checking in on the Express and the Star websites respectively, the acquisition would create a much more diverse news portfolio.

Learn more about YouGov Profiles