Among all the turmoil about advertisers fleeing conservative website Breitbart and the return of its former chairman, Steve Bannon, from his role in the White House, the site’s traffic has stayed steady above 80 million visits a month. That means Breitbart runs among the larger “news” sites on the web, but hardly the largest.
According to industry measurement company SimilarWeb, Breitbart had 83 million visitors in August, up from 78.7 million in July, but down from a six-month high of 92.3 million set in March. The average amount of time people spent on the site during a visit was 3:34 minutes, a good number for most news sites. The average pageviews per visit yielded a modest 2.32.
Among larger news sites, visitors to The New York Times spend 3:03 minutes on the site, and averaged 2.43 pageviews. CNN visitors average 3:51 minutes and 2.3 pageviews by the same measure. Drudge Report’s numbers were better than any large news site in August — much better. Drudge visitors averaged 22:31 minutes per visit and 9:54 pageviews. A key difference between Drudge and the other large news sites is that its headlines link out to other sites, while the headlines of most sites link to other pages of their own.
Breitbart’s largest challenge, after drawing a large audience, is revenue. The site is so controversial and Bannon such a polarizing figure that even if the site grows, advertisers probably will not return. Audience will be a sign of influence, but not revenue potential.
Among Breitbart’s owners is the extremely wealthy and conservative family, the Mercers. Head of the family, Robert Mercer, is a computer scientist. More important from the standpoint of his fortune, he is among the founders of one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Renaissance Technologies.
Bannon’s return may balloon the Breitbart audience because he is so visible. September numbers will be out in a few weeks and will show if he has given the audience any bump in size. The site still will have the challenge of lack of revenue. However, if size is a measure of influence and Breitbart keeps its wealthy backers, the money problem may never be an issue.