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Independent sets new records with US elections coverage

The Independent has recorded its biggest leap in readership yet, with 12 million unique browsers visiting its web and mobile sites on Wednesday to follow the US election, say the publishers.

The figure is up 12% on the previous high of 10.6m, after the EU referendum.

The record brings real evidence of the success of a strategic decision, taken two years ago, to invest in the US as a target market of growth, says The Independent. The digital-only title has built small but focused content and commercial teams in New York, with correspondents in Washington and the West Coast. The New York office currently has 10 staff, with more journalists being recruited. Several members of the London staff travelled to New York for the week to strengthen on-the ground reporting, localised news editing and social media – the result of which was 24-hour rolling story- and opinion-making capability.

According to the publishers:

• Three separate articles received more than 1 million unique browsers, with one reaching 2.3m alone.

• A record number of videos were viewed, up 62% on the previous high point.

• More US users than UK users came to the site.

Social media reach rocketed, with the main Independent Facebook account reaching more than 120 million Facebook users around the world in three and a half days (from Tuesday morning to noon on Friday, GMT).

The top post was a comment article by US Editor Andrew Buncombe, headlined “Donald Trump would have lost if Bernie Sanders had been the candidate”.

Analysis by Newswhip placed The Independent in the top-10 Facebook publishers worldwide (the only UK news brand in the list), and noted that The Independent had the sixth-highest average engagement level per post.

“I’m sure the election did not provide the result that the majority of our readers wanted, but this feels like the moment when The Independent truly found its voice in America,” said Christian Broughton, the Editor. “Whether they came from social media, via our growing US homepage, or through searches, readers found quality journalism that stood out and struck a chord, with passion and ideas shining bright in a news landscape obsessed with reporting identical breaking-news bulletins. It is a credit to the team that so much can be achieved from a modestly sized newsroom.”