These 14 Digital Publishers Are the Hottest Voices on the Internet. Here’s What They’re Doing

Washington Post, Teen Vogue lead Adweek's honorees

In the world of digital publishing, sites, brands and podcasts saw tremendous growth this year thanks to politics, partnerships and social media. By being true to themselves and leaning into what they do best, destinations like BuzzFeed’s Tasty and Teen Vogue resonated with their audiences even more.
—Sami Main

Website of the Year
Teen Vogue

Under the leadership of digital editorial director Phillip Picardi, Teen Vogue’s attention to politics and inclusion (see: Lauren Duca’s much-cited story about President Donald Trump’s “gaslighting” from early this year), combined with its youthful point-of-view, has made it a go-to digital resource for Gen Z while proving to readers of all ages that teens are looking to be actively engaged in the world around them. All told, the brand has seen its web audience grow an impressive 66 percent YOY—and its mobile audience an even more staggering 118 percent. —Sami Main

Hottest in News
The Washington Post

The Washington Post’s bet on a digital future, led by a digital-first owner, is paying off. Since Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought the publication in 2013, the Post has added nearly 50 staffers in the engineering, design and product teams. Thanks to its must-read coverage of the Trump administration, digital-only subscriptions have more than tripled in the past year, topping 1 million as of September. The Post regularly gets about 1 billion page views a month, sees 100 million monthly unique visitors and averages 36 million video views across platforms including Facebook, MSN Video, AOL Video, YouTube and Apple News. And while the Post is breaking news on the national stage, the rest of the world is reading, too: its website attracts 30 million global visitors every month.Chris Ariens

Hottest in Branded Content
Gimlet Media

In addition to producing hit podcasts like Crimetown, StartUp and Reply All, Gimlet Media has made a name for itself as a successful branded content shop. Companies looking to use Gimlet’s storytelling chops to reach new audiences can partner with the publisher’s in-house native studio, Gimlet Creative, to produce branded podcasts like Microsoft’s .future, eBay’s Open for Business and Tinder’s DTR, to name a few. —S.M.

Hottest in Lifestyle
GQ

January 2017 was GQ.com’s strongest month ever, with 14.2 million unique visitors flocking to the newly redesigned site. (Traffic is up an average 12 percent every month this year vs. 2016.) With the launch of its Best Stuff email newsletter and other product-focused content, GQ is also making a big play in the commerce space, driving revenue from affiliate links up 166 percent YOY to its peak in September. Its fastest-growing platform, however, is video, which has seen huge growth (up 290 percent between January and September YOY) thanks to viral shorts and series like special correspondent Keith Olbermann’s The Resistance, which had drawn more than 355 million views as of September. —A.J. Katz

Hottest in Sports
Bleacher Report

Sports publisher Bleacher Report has evolved into a digital powerhouse over its 10-year life span. The brand now reaches roughly 265 million people each month across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, with roughly 75 percent of its audience under age 35 (and many of them part of the hard-to-reach male millennial demographic). Bleacher Report’s website, where journalists and bloggers cover professional and collegiate sports with a focus on providing opinion-oriented analysis, currently averages 50 million unique visitors each month and has become a top publisher in driving social engagement across multiple platforms. —A.K.

Hottest in Food
Tasty

Delivering more than 4.3 billion video views and 108 million engagements across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the first quarter of 2017 alone, Tasty has one of the largest digital reaches of any food brand. Since launching in 2015, it has dominated nearly every social media platform with its “hands-in-pans” videos, spawned 10 sub-brands (including Tasty Vegetarian and the U.K.-centric Proper Tasty), created branded content for countless advertisers (including Nike and the Today show), launched customizable cookbooks and even created a recipe app that connects to its own smart cooking device, the Tasty One Top—all of which have helped make Tasty BuzzFeed’s fastest-growing revenue source. —S.M.

This story first appeared in the Oct. 30, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Recommended articles