13 May 2015 Last updated at 13:20

Record mobile audience for BBC election coverage

Election page

As the dust settles on the UK General Election, we've been taking stock of how people followed the BBC's election night coverage on our digital services.

One of the things that stands out from the figures for traffic to BBC News Online last week is the record numbers who followed our coverage on mobile and tablet.

On Friday morning, between 6am and 7am as people woke up and checked in to see what had happened, almost everyone who came to our online coverage (85% of users to be precise) was on mobile or tablet.

Over the course of the day, we saw a new record for BBC News for both mobile (12.8m unique browsers) and tablet (4.9m)

Unique users

Overall across BBC News Online we had 28.3m unique browsers on Friday, with the biggest peaks in traffic between 7am and 8am and then again between 12pm and 1pm. That's also a new record. Of those, 20.6m users were in the UK.

Our digital output was planned as a central part of the BBC's election coverage. It included:

  • Constantly updated news and analysis and a full live results service on mobile, tablet, app, social media and desktop
  • An Election "hub page" featuring the best of the BBC's coverage, including pages for each of the nations of the UK
  • An Election Live page, reporting every twist and turn of the campaign and election night, in text, images, video, audio, graphics and tweets, along with live streams of all the relevant BBC broadcasts, programmes and live events
  • A BBC team of experts who analysed and tested the claims and counter-claims of the politicians in a Reality Check feature on TV, radio and online
  • Interactive features and shareable guides, including a poll tracker and maps, a manifesto guide, an interactive "majority builder" and concise explanations in text, graphics and video of key issues and policies throughout the campaign
  • A page for every constituency in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with local results and postcode search, stories and updates as relevant, as well as candidate information, a constituency profile and quiz

A quick look at our traffic for last week shows people were looking at, among other things: Lots of story pages, especially the lead story; also the live pages, which clocked up 9.4m visitors over that week; the main results page with 6.9m, and 5.8m on the various constituency pages with local results and updates.

The manifesto guide created by our Visual Journalism team as a mobile-friendly set of 'cards' with brief summaries for the main issues and parties was visited by 2.4m unique browsers during the course of the campaign, with a spike in traffic in the last couple of days.


On our social media accounts David Cameron's victory speech video was the most popular BBC News Facebook post about the election, reaching 2.8m people and getting over 30,000 likes, comments and shares. On Twitter, Friday was the biggest day on record for our @BBCBreaking account, with over 66m views.

All our election pages were designed 'mobile first' by our product team, who started with the challenge of presenting all the stories, results, video, graphics and analysis in the narrowest mobile view, then worked up to bigger tablet and desktop screen sizes. We also made a few changes to the BBC News app to make sure the key election stories and results were easy to find.

Parliament interactive game

For the journalists working on the online coverage this meant understanding how all the different elements - news, results, analysis, graphics - would fit together on different screen sizes, and the value of writing headlines that are quick to scan and stories that are simple to read.

These figures for our digital election coverage are just a small part of the bigger picture of the BBC's reporting and broadcasting of the election and its dramatic finale last week. But they are also the latest evidence for us of the continuing big changes in how people get their news. We hope that by continuing to anticipate and plan for those changes, we'll be able to keep delivering news services that fit into people's daily lives, whichever device or screen they happen to be using.

New design for Newsbeat responsive site

Newsbeat site

Today we have launched the new Newsbeat responsive site - a brand new site that cleverly adapts to the screens and devices you're using. It's the first step in our drive to make Newsbeat far more social and mobile focused.

We know you are viewing a great chunk of news online, and over the last year we've made huge strides in improving our digital offering. Ten million people listen to us each week on Radio 1/1Xtra and we now reach around nine million people a week online. We hope the launch of our new-look site will see more of you come to Newsbeat wherever you are, whenever you want to.

Social media will be the main route to stories, with prominent share tools, headlines "written to share" and a great "click-out" of Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp experience. It's also the first BBC news site to embed topical images, videos and tweets from across the internet - something we're really excited about.

So what's new?

Newsbeat is aimed at 16-24 year olds and our online offering will focus on three main areas

  • deliver the best of our original journalism
  • entertainment news
  • stories we think you really care about

Our relationship with you is key - you tell us what stories you want us to cover, and we listen to you. Understandably the site will reflect a lot of General Election coverage over the next few weeks - and the issues we will look at are the ones you've told us you care about the most. Our team of politics reporters will be using the site to explain complex election stories clearly and comprehensively.

We're also launching Newsbeat on Snapchat to give followers the inside track on what happens when Radio 1 listeners, politicians and celebrities have a go at BallotBots - so keep an eye out for our leader board, we think it could get quite competitive.

Loving the video

We won't just be writing text articles. Video is key. We know you are increasingly watching videos on your mobiles and tablets and longer films at home later in the day. We are beginning to make some fantastic films and short-form documentaries and I hope you check them out on our new site as well as our YouTube channel. From the troll being confronted by a trolling victim, to "one night in Magaluf" and some really creative election explainers, there really is something for everyone.

Mobile first

The site is designed for use on your mobile - as we know this is the device you use most to watch, listen and read news - however being responsive, it also works well on computers and laptops. In the coming months we'll also be launching our first-ever mobile app..

We've tested it extensively on a wide variety of the most popular smartphones sold in the UK over the past five years. We have also tested the site extensively to ensure that it is compatible with the most popular versions of the Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari web browsers currently used in the UK. Unfortunately, due to the substantial decrease in use over the past two years, we have taken the difficult decision to drop support for old versions of Internet Explorer - so please upgrade your browser to the latest version of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome or Safari to enjoy the best experience of the Newsbeat website.

Just the beginning

The launch of the new Newsbeat responsive site is just the start of our plans to bring you the news that matters to you whenever you want it - on the devices you're using. We're looking forward to hearing what you think - and will be blogging about changes and improvements to the site, as well as the launch of new apps in the coming months. It's set to be an exciting time in Newsbeat.

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