Are Visitors Reading Your Content?

You can spend a lot of time creating content so that your listeners and website visitor stay informed.  This great content can help with search engine optimization also.  But what you found evidence that many of your visitors were not finishing the articles you publish?  Would you still take the time to create extensive news articles and lengthy blog content?  Or, would you feel bad about dedicating large amounts of resources to that content that you knew wasn’t being read?

A few years ago, Chartbeat and Slate.com published a research piece that analyzed how much people actually read through entire articles as well as some of the other actions they take before leaving your site. Here’s what their research showed…

10 percent of readers will not scroll at all

While data shows that most readers scroll through about 60 percent of articles, as much as 10 percent are not scrolling at all. This data does not include people who bounce (get to the page and immediately leave).  These people spend a very small amount of time reading the first few sentences to get the gist without scrolling.

Only 60 percent of articles are read by most people

There is a good chance that only 60 percent of your articles are getting read to the median scroll depth. This indicates that readers are not staying interested in articles long enough to get the meat and potatoes or the conclusion. Today’s readers are consciously missing out on a lot of information but not before they do something that is actually good for website owners.  What is that exactly?

Even people who don’t finish articles are sharing them socially

The Chartbeat data examined the percentage of people who scrolled through the article against the overall amount of tweets to those articles and found that people were sharing articles even before they finish reading them. Chartbeat’s data could not determine where in the article, the information was shared.  They were able to show evidence that many people were sharing before they got close to the end of articles. This is promising news for content marketers because it shows that regardless of the engagement levels readers exhibit they are still contributing to the reach of content.

65.7 percent of readers spend time below-the-fold

The “fold” is the bottom of the page once it’s loaded.  Think of the place where you have to scroll any to see it.

That 65.7 percentage of people that spend time below the fold is a promising metric for content marketers. Chartbeat says that higher-quality content causes people to scroll further, indicating that all is not lost for quality content producers.

The Takeaway

The data in this research shows some very sad and yet some very promising information on how users engage with our content.  We lose 10 percent of visitors before they have any time to interact with our content.  The majority of readers, 60 percent, only have the capacity to make it to the median length of our content.  It was revealed that a lot of readers see the majority of content on photos and videos indicating that these visual elements are very helpful and should be used aggressively. In other words, have a good photo to go with every article and use them within articles.

The correlation between social sharing and lack of article completion can be a bit saddening and but also pleasing at the same time. Although visitors don’t care enough to read all of our content they do care enough to pass it along to other readers (who are likely to do the same thing).

All this data reveals the importance of creating really good content that incorporates visuals to provide your station website with the best opportunity to capture and engage an audience. It doesn’t have to be long though. Remember, we’re in a consume-it-fast culture. It’s challenging enough to keep readers engaged on the page.  Let’s not disappoint them with thin content or information that doesn’t help them in some way. Useful content will more likely be shared out with their social groups and help your website.

Do a little research of your own with Facebook and Google Analytics to see what content works better for your audience and try to do more of that.

Jim Sherwood serves as chief creative, brand strategist, lead developer, meticulous project manager, and station collaborator for all Skyrocket Radio sites and projects.