Lessons in Social News Reading (con’t)

4. Cellphone news users spend the most time reading long-form content when arriving at an article from an internal link, least time when arriving via a social network

Those who arrive at a long-form article by following a link from another page within the same website – such as a homepage or a suggested link from another article – result in the greatest amount of time spent with the article, an average of 148 seconds.


While Facebook drives more traffic to news articles in this study, Twitter tends to bring in people who spend more time with the content.


For both long-form and short-form content, LinkedIn, Google Plus, StumbleUpon, Reddit, Tumblr and Pinterest combined traffic yields 2% of the total social referrals. Despite the low traffic coming from these social networking sites, some send users who spend relatively high levels of engaged time.


Infographic & Quote Source: 4. Cellphone news users spend the most time reading long-form content when arriving at an article from an internal link, least time when arriving via a social network | Pew Research Center


+Commentary: The lessons here although strictly for “news sites” is very telling metric about user behaviors in general. That you don’t run a news site is actually very little meaning, it is the social behavior patterning that is the result. You don’t run a social media platform either but as a person using them for your benefit must understand what isn’t so obvious. Still the first rule of the web applies.

Facebook still drives traffic. Yet it is of the abundant & low value variety. This doesn’t parse those details too finely, but is going for an average. While this is focusing on “mobile” which we tend to reduce solely to our smartphones, it can include tablet traffic as well.

Your best mobile reads will come from an internal link. This almost seems elementary, but it is so overlooked by any and all people with a website. If you post something to your blog, it has to at least have one internal link. Every time, no exceptions. Many and oft times this is reduced down to the “You might also like” widgets that populate all blogs or worse this new trend of interrupting your reading with a recommended piece:

These ‘interruptive’ links already know or knew that you get more bang for you buck and why they have become a part of every leading online platform. Been in use at least a year, ever few scrolls down the page. Which makes our readers & ad blocking so much more important. When you use a Readability or Evernote’s reader it strips the extraneous stuff away, well what is left? The internal links embedded in the article, naturally.

The modeling everything on a rather failed policy, like the ad-model, with its Toombla’s and other junk approaches that just provide utter crap is why you can’t make sense of the human behavior surrounding it. For so much of us is over-correcting for these sites using this. Adblocking & these other SaaS/plug-ins that take away everything else & just leave us with the content. Not to mention that the opt-out portion which many take part in, making the data gleaned skewered towards a hapless few. Not the influencers, and the power-users, but just the regular person who doesn’t really care.

So it is important that you not follow what large advertiser driven models do, that you indeed disrupt this notion. That by providing a site that doesn’t have ads, you are actually doing a service. If those ads, or any marketing on the site is self-referential then all the better. Yet we need some growth & maturity here. The about page needs to step up its game. Tired of reading endless short, pithy, blurbs.

Why if upon coming to your site, and actually interested in purchasing, would a quick Twitter bio blurb, which itself seems like a run-on word salad sentence really be worthwhile in converting anyone to a lifelong supporter? Again use that space to tell them what is in it for them, not your CV, your attempt at humor, or a dry list of brochure copy that makes you sound stiff.

Further to this when you are making posts, and this is the clincher to all of this, have a strategy. These big news sites don’t need one, they’ve reported on it before. They have a link, and archive, etc…but for your site, your personal one needs to loop in the bits of the past, your past work, and make it part of a unified whole.

That is the only way to make this work. So finding ways requires a strategy, beyond just the niche. It requires you to do the work, and if that includes curation of great content to place in the scheme of things, or any form of biographical narrative. These things are essential to telling your story, finding its value, and then putting it in a context or light that others will benefit.

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