a screenshot of an analytics tool with glitchy edits, overlayed is the dexerto logo and text saying it's about 10 thousand dollars a day

slop content pays: just how much money does Dexerto make from ads?

why do i even try to do serious journalism anymore

anyone who has spent any amount of time on twitter probably knows of Dexerto, the famously low-quality "news site" primarily reporting on entertainment, influencer and video game news. they're wildly successful on social media, with almost 900,000 followers on their main twitter profile alone. with any content farm i encounter, i always find myself curious about one thing: just how profitable is this shitty industry? and for once i'm in luck—my friend eva just found all of their internal analytics laying around publicly on a subdomain :3

a screenshot of an analytics tool showing detailed page view and ad revenue statistics for dexerto for every day in may 2024

the pluto business intelligence tool requires no authentication at all and just immediately shows you all ad revenue for the current month, optionally showing you even more detailed breakdowns of where page views come from and which ad network revenue comes from. looking at historical data and analytics for other Dexerto outlets is just as easy, and a separate page even lets you group the data by article or writer, making it easy to see which topics perform well.

Dexerto evidently has the same problem as the rest of the modern media landscape (myself included): they do insanely well on social media (according to their corporate website, they got over 22 billion social impressions last year) but struggle with directing people to their website. that's pretty crucial, because unfortunately just posting news on twitter doesn't pay the bills, but on-site ads (in Dexerto's case) do. all things considered, they aren't doing too badly in this regard; they seem to average at somewhere around 500K page views a day, with that number more than doubling on really good days. most of those pageviews, however, don't come from social media—a significant majority of all clicks come from google search and despite their tweets often going insanely viral, only a few thousand people ever click through. as for ad revenue, they currently seem to be averaging somewhere around $10,000–$15,000 USD a day, with both page views and ad revenue having averaged about twice as high until a few months ago. what exactly changed at the time obviously isn't clear from the data we have access to, but something must have happened for their ad revenue to have just halved that quickly. the data also makes it pretty clear that Dexerto's spanish and french websites, as well as their call of duty news site CharlieIntel, do significantly worse both page view- and revenue-wise despite CharlieIntel having over 4 times as many twitter followers as Dexerto.

with nothing else of note in the available data this is one of my shortest articles—just about as long as the average Dexerto piece. and while it won't get me anywhere close to Dexerto's numbers, sending me something on ko-fi lets me continue both my short and long form reporting work without a need for paywalls or ad revenue.