Engagement with Australia’s top 10 news sites shot up in March, according to the latest Nielsen Online Ratings which revealed “notable growth” for The Mail Online.
The top 10 news sites increased their session engagement by an average 28% from February to March with big jumps in mobile device engagement in the latest results, which include the major enhancements Nielsen unveiled yesterday.
Overall, session engagement on mobile was up 41% on average for the top 10 sites with average rises of 31% for tablet sessions and 21% for desktop.
While News Corp’s news.com.au continues to leave and the overall top five remain unchanged, there was a shift in the bottom half of the table courtesy of The Mail Online, The Guardian and BBC.
The Mail Online jumped from tenth position to sixth.
According to Nielsen the majority of The Mail Online’s growth came from referrals from Ninemsn’s homepage to tabloid stories such as reports on socialite Brynne Edelsten.
The BBC made a return to the top 10 while The Guardian recorded significant growth throughout March. The majority of The Guardian’s growth was as a result of a 38% increase in its female audience, a fact Nielsen said was unique given most news sites’ gains were from male readers.
Based on unique audience data, the Nielsen ratings are in addition to internal figures of 5.1 million unique browsers which also saw Guardian Australia record 13 days across March where traffic was higher than the recorded launch day numbers in May 2013. The same figures also demonstrate a month on month traffic increase of 26%.
The Guardian Australia said that it had 13 days across March hwere traffic was higher than recorded launch day numbers in May last year.
Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief Guardian Australia, said:“Today’s Nielsen ratings go some way to reflecting an incredible March for Guardian Australia. We've combined great coverage of Australian stories, from David Marr on George Pell at the Royal Commission to our innovative Great Barrier Reef interactive, with major global stories which are live and updated on the Guardian globally for 24 hours a day, such as the search for the MH370 plane and the Oscar Pistorius trial.
"I'm delighted that we continue to smash our readership targets as we approach one year since the launch of Guardian Australia."
Monique Perry, head of Nielsen’s Media Industry Group, said: “We always see a kick in unique audience figures when comparing February to March due to the extra days in the month.”
“Looking specifically at the news category, last month we had big international and local stories such as the MH370 story which our research shows drove new, incremental audiences online for latest updates.”