Before you panic and run for the hills, we take a closer look at where and why this data was generated. And this is the focus of our first ‘5 minute read’.
Generated by Chartbeat, an online software analytical application, it looked at media companies. On one hand, this is a broad business model but, every business is different. The headline actually refers to what visitors to your website are actually reading which, in this case, are articles; it does not include home pages, landing pages etc.
What is the research telling is?
However, before we discard this statistic as scaremongering tripe, we need to take a deeper look into what and why people are using or accessing information for.
There are several key points to the study:
- Current or news worthy content is more engaging that ‘evergreen’ content
The online world is current and fleeting, with the bad stuff hanging around with a penchant for popping up when we least want or expect it – ‘the right to be forgotten‘.
News events that are current, or trends on social media platforms tends to be the type of content that draws in visitors, or according to this pieces of research it is. This study look at a chunk of websites – 2,000 in fact – and monitored 2 billion page views across these websites.
Although this statistic tells us that many visits are fleeting it doesn’t rule out evergreen content as being something we should ditch.
- Evergreen content is very important
Evergreen content are the articles, blogs and posts that people write on a variety of subjects from the best way to unblock a drain, to the colours to use in marketing your products, services or brand to your customers.
‘Marathon not a sprint‘ is the motto here as evergreen content has proven to be a lead-generator. Newsworthy stuff is all well and good, especially for a quick read but, for the longer term, generating content that is both valuable and useful to the customer/visitor is essential.
- Social media has little effect on ‘reading engagement’
The study that generated the ‘15 second’ statistic also found that of the 10,000 articles shared via social media there was no relationship between the amount a piece of content is shared and the amount of attention the average reader gives it.
Before we all throw our laptops out and rip up our content marketing plans, take note of the following:
- Social media – the finding of your website by a visitor through the various social media platforms is ‘random’. In other words, they came across something and their interest was piqued. It might be the website is not of interest or value to them.
- Search engine – visitors who find your site through a social engine search are in ‘search mode’, focused on finding an answer to a query, question or concern. In this sense, they are likely to stay longer on your website.
- Banner ads are not working…
And here in lies a debate:
- Move them – the authors of the ChartBeat study suggested moving the ads to a place where the eyeball falls as people are now suffering from ‘banner blindness’ i.e. regardless of what wonderful deal is on the banner, potential customers pay very little heed.
- Quality content is key – another aspect is that people will often be searching for a specific fact, answer, product, service etc. and thus, banner ads are not always the best value spend for all businesses. Some pundit suggest that quality content on your pages, rather than ‘renting space on another website’ is a better, wiser move.
The 5 minute round up
The great thing about these kind of reports and studies is that, even though we may not be the same kind of business, we can still take away some great lessons.
- Hijacking newsworthy stories and events can be useful IF your company, business, product, brand or service has a link to it e.g. the recent health news that there has been a rise in skin cancer amongst people over the age of 50, attributed in part to the rise of cheap package holidays in the 1960s could be something your healthy living company could tag on to.
- Quality content with value and authority is still paramount
- Social media can attract people to your website, but they may not always stay long – but, say experts, this is the nature of the social media ‘game’
- Banner ads may no longer be a great marketing spend for your brand, especially if your content is not working hard.