Jun 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Exclusive data: Trump's traffic flop

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The blog from former President Trump — originally touted as his own social media 'platform' — generated engagement roughly on par with the top posts from mid-market local newspapers, according to exclusive data from NewsWhip.

Why it matters: Even with his considerable base of support, Trump was unable to defy the laws of social media physics by getting political followers to change their habits.

  • The move to shut down the page this week acknowledged the flawed assumption that if you build it, they will come.

The big picture: The numbers, a far cry from the audience Trump commanded with his Twitter and Facebook accounts, show the limits of Trump's power without access to the biggest platforms.

  • Trump's attention monopoly has steadily waned since late January, as he lost both the power of his office and of his social media megaphones.

Catch up quick: Leading up to the launch of 'From the Desk of Donald J. Trump', Trump's allies teased an upcoming "platform."

  • When it arrived on May 4, it was promoted with a dramatic video saying, "In a time of silence and lies, a beacon of freedom arises." Some were surprised to see that it was a section of his website populated by tweet-like entries.
  • Trump's team hoped that social share buttons would provide an avenue for his comments to enter into the bloodstream of major platforms via his supporters, which couldn't be done through his previous communications strategy — tweet-like press releases.
  • After 29 days, the blog was shut down on Wednesday. The Washington Post reported that Trump ordered the shutdown after learning of the lousy readership.

What they're saying: Following reports about the site's lowly traffic, Trump called the blog a "very basic site," while aide Jason Miller said "it was just auxiliary to the broader efforts we have and are working on."

Go deeper