Traffic lights on green
Credit: By PeterJBellis on Flickr
The Coventry Telegraph has seen a massive 362.5 per cent increase in monthly web traffic over the last six months, according to the latest figures from the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC).

Traffic to the website, owned by Trinity Mirror, grew from just under 457,000 in December 2013 to 2.1 million in June 2014.

Other Trinity Mirror sites which demonstrated high increases over the last six months include the Liverpool Echo, up 78.4 per cent to 3.9 million uniques, and the Newscastle Chronicle, up  68.8 per cent to 1.8 million uniques.

Local World sites also fared well, with the Plymouth Herald up 80.9 per cent to 986,700 uniques and the South Wales Evening Post up 61.5 per cent to just under 828,500 uniques.



Alun Thorne, editor of the Coventry Telegraph, said the increase was a result of the new digital-first strategy among Trinity Mirror titles and the appointment of three new digitally-focussed staff: two online content writers and a social media editor.

"News and sport remain, and will continue to remain, the key content pillars for our website," Thorne told Journalism.co.uk, "but ultimately it's about thinking laterally about every piece of content."

It's a new interactive approach to a lot of our coverage and trying to engage better with the audienceAlun Thorne, the Coventry Telegraph
Thorne highlighted the work his online team had done in the lead up to July's Godiva Festival in Coventry, in which the outlet aimed to publish daily articles around the event from "the perfect Spotify playlist to how to avoid clashes between your favourite bands".

Over the course of three weeks the articles "generated upwards of 700,000 page impressions", he said, and stressed the role forward planning has played in the Telegraph's online offering.

"It's not rocket science, it's a better understanding that a digital audience will want something different than print," he said, "but then a lot of that is available to reverse publish back into print."

He also stressed new experiments in social content around news events. A quiz about 80s computer games brought in "over 250,000 page impressions" before a gaming conference in the area, he said, and when World Wrestling Entertainment visited the city the team published a quiz about 80s wrestling stars that "went viral, was shared around the world and brought in 1.6 million page impressions".

"[It's] a new interactive approach to a lot of our coverage and trying to engage better with the audience," said Thorne, "and the response has seen really significant increases in traffic."

Local World saw the biggest overall increase in traffic to its sites among the audited publishers, which jumped by 40.4 per cent over the six month period, up from 11.7 million to 16.4 million.
 
Traffic to Johnston Press websites increased by 18.1 per cent, to 15.5 million.

Newsquest's digital audience grew by 24.1 per cent, to 16 million monthly unique browsers, while Midland News Association saw overall traffic increase by 34.1 per cent, to 2.6 million uniques,
 
Kent Messenger Ltd, which only has one website, Kent Online, saw traffic increase by 33.2 per cent, to 1.2 million uniques.

The overall traffic to Trinity Mirror regionals was not included in the report.

Unlike the other regional news sites audited, Trinity Mirror also includes audience figures in ABC's monthly multi-platform report. The latest figures show web traffic to the Coventry Telegraph continued to grow in July 2013, when it reached 2.3 monthly unique browsers.


Update: this article has been updated with comment from Alun Thorne.

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