Election Night Drives Recordbreaking Web Traffic
Election night coverage didn't just glue people to their televisions... it also got them hooked to the Internet, visiting news sites in recordbreaking droves. Our own coverage was a nice barometer of this effect, with Rob Walker's and Rachel Nixon's stories getting far more traffic than average.
News site web traffic broke all previous records, and did so at night. Traditionally, web traffic peaks in the afternoon, when folks at work surf the web. Like you're doing right now. It's okay, you can admit it.
At 8 p.m. PST, just as word was coming that Barack Obama had won the election, Akamai's Net Usage Index showed more than 8.5 million worldwide visitors per minute to the company's aggregate set of news sites. Not all of the traffic, of course, may have been specifically to election coverage, but the relative audience size in the index does correlate strongly to particular events.
Tuesday night's total was a big jump from the previous record of 7.3 million, set in June 2006, when Ghana eliminated the United States in a World Cup soccer event. Sporting events--most notably the U.S. March Madness basketball tournament--dominate Akamai's top 15 results for visitors per minute.
The next highest election-related event now is No. 15, from November 8, 2006, for that year's voting results. That nonpresidential election accounted at its peak for 4 million visitors per minute.