In the ebb-and-flow game that is digital traffic measurement, Vice Media’s numbers rebounded in March after a down February that led some in the industry to question whether the company, which is valued at more than $4 billion, really has such a big audience.
In March, Vice Media brought in 58.3 million U.S. multiplatform unique visitors, up from 49.2 million in February, according to ComScore data. February’s tally was down 17.4% from January.
March unique visitors were also up 65.6% year-over-year, according to ComScore.
Vice Media’s tally includes both traffic to the company’s owned-and-operated properties and to the smaller publishers that are included in the company’s digital advertising network, The Vice Digital Network. The February drop was attributed to a down month for Distractify.com, a member of the network, which highlighted one of the risks of entering into traffic-assignment partnerships. (The partnerships also have plenty of rewards, both for the larger companies that get more traffic and the smaller companies that can’t achieve scale without them.)
In March, Vice’s owned-and-operated properties brought in 27.9 million domestic unique visitors, which ComScore said was “its highest traffic ever to its owned and operated digital channels.” Between January and February, Vice.com traffic remained stable; it was the company’s digital ad network traffic that suffered.
While digital traffic measurement is a popular way to take stock of a company’s popularity and success at building an audience, frequent, month-by-month fluctuations (see: The Washington Post vs. The New York Times) reduce the value of extrapolating from such metrics. Also, most digital publishers have leaned into distributed publishing using platforms such as Facebook Instant Articles, a strategy that complicates measurement, and even to TV deals, a sigificant source of revenue for Vice.