Should media worry about “Trump fatigue”? We analyzed engagement data to find out
Editors have expressed concern over “Trump fatigue” after over two years of nonstop political coverage. So, has the pace of Trump-related content grown to the point where readers are tuning out the news? We looked at engagement data to find out.
(Related: Capitalizing on readership during major news events)
Is there Trump fatigue? Engagement data is mixed
Chartbeat data shows that overall engagement with Trump-related content has not declined. Trump stories accounted for 587 million total engaged minutes in August compared to 575 million in 2018. This, even as daily coverage continues to dominate the headlines.
It’s worth noting: Because Trump is the president, it makes sense that a huge fraction of stories touch on him in some way. Overall engagement has been up, so we shouldn’t expect a different result for Trump-related stories.
There was a build-up of major stories leading up to the Mueller report’s release and a significant decline after, as indicated by the chart below. Despite the drop, major stories are still coming at roughly the same rate as 2017.
We saw a similar spike in web traffic to articles on Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as documented earlier this year.
We also looked into the impact the pace of these stories has had on reader fatigue. The analysis included the top 1,000 trump-related stories (measured by total engagement) since he took office and when each piece was published.
What did we find? There was a huge spike when he first took office and another huge spike at the beginning of this year. If you compare the periods in between those spikes, there appears to be a decline in blockbuster stories in the beginning of this year. That timing roughly lines up with the publication of the Mueller report.
It may be too early to tell whether this trend continues. That said, it will certainly be worth keeping tabs on the data in the post-Mueller news cycle.
Takeaway: Reader engagement, including Trump content, is still going strong
Chartbeat data shows that overall engagement with stories mentioning Trump is constant. However, there are fewer major Trump-related stories in recent months than in prior years. We’ll see how the latter data holds up when election coverage ramps up (and as talk around impeachment gains steam).
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