There has been a fair amount of commotion over the past few years about how much individuals have actually read the content being shared. Real-time analytics software platform, Chartbeat, teamed up with Slate.com late last year to take a deeper look at the percentage of articles actually read by readers, learning that while most consume about 50% of any given article, many don’t scroll at all. And when it comes to finding a relationship between tweets and completion rates, results are all over the map.
Fact is, there is no correlation between the two, leading us to believe that readers are only looking for content they can fly through, supported by images and videos when applicable.
The good news is: they ARE skimming. A lot.
How we can help support the skim:
- Be clear, not clever. Your considerable vocabulary may wow at dinner parties and presentations but keep it simple and move on.
- Format content in a way that is easily scannable by readers, using bullets, bolded text and pull quotes when possible to help.
- Grab readers’ attention in the first three seconds. A great headline can work wonders.
- Start thinking about more than just page views. The length of time readers are on your page is a key metric to measure. Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile states that the platform’s research reveals “if you can hold a visitor’s attention for just three minutes they are twice as likely to return than if you only hold them for one minute.”
- Stop obsessing. Really (and I know this is a tough one). Don’t assume your readers are consuming every word. Repurpose when you can to stay relevant. Borrow from white papers, former blog posts, bylines, webinars.
As content marketers, we have the responsibility of fine-tuning our approach to meet the needs of ever-impatient consumers. While shares may increase brand visibility, let’s aid in the process of building loyalty and connecting with users by making it as easy as possible to get through the tons of content they’re exposed to every day.
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