Conservative U.K. tabloid newspaper the Daily Mail’s first set of audited monthly ABCe figures, published Thursday, reveal it is, in fact, Britain’s second most visited online newspaper. According to the surprise July traffic, while Guardian Unlimited remained leader on 16 million monthly unique users, MailOnline posted 11.8 million (up 162 percent on July last year), wedging it ahead of now-third-placed Times Online (10.5 million), Sun Online in fourth (9.4 million) and Telegraph.co.uk in fifth (8.9 million). It’s the first time the DMGT flagship title has posted audited figures since March, when its user count languished on 6.5 million, bottom of the bunch.
Having held back since then, MailOnline MD Stephen Miron, in a release, has now challenged competitors to publish full and “transparent” figures. In a detailed audit report, MailOnline said 78 percent of its users were from outside the U.K., higher than Guardian’s 63 percent (others don’t publish that metric), and it claims to be the only one of the bunch not to attract visitors using paid search. With DMGT now plucky enough to post month-by-month returns, we will be able to watch the competition more closely. After Guardian Unlimited and Telegraph.co.uk both this year claimed to be the U.K.’s leading newspaper website (and both being correct because each claim depended on a different set of metrics), the hope is that ABCe’s monthly audits will provide advertisers with the true benchmark.