Why No One is Reading Your Digital Content

by Valerie Lauer, Copywriter - 08/01/16


Digital content is the darling of cohesive marketing strategies. So why are many online articles skimmed, overlooked, or ignored?

The answer isn’t so simple. Your digital content may be impressive. But the way people consume information is changing. The internet is busy and people have a lot of distractions. Your job is to understand that and rise above it.

Average View Time: 15 Seconds 

According to data from web metric research gurus at Chartbeat, 55 percent of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds or less on a page.

That’s barely enough time to make a first impression. It certainly isn’t enough time to engage visitors with your digital content in a way that benefits your company. The same Chartbeat report says that three minutes is the magic number.

If website visitors spend at least three minutes on your site, they are twice as likely to return. That’s compared to visitors who only spend a minute on the site.

Return visits are the key to closing the deal. But the one minute- and three minute-metrics are both much higher than the 15-second average view time of more than half your visitors.

Why So Distracted? 

According to one study from Microsoft Corp., the average person has an attention span of eight seconds. That’s less than a goldfish.

Online, those eight seconds go quickly. So that’s all you have before an alert, email, post, notification, pin, message, advertisement, or call pulls someone away from focusing on your digital content. And once that attention is lost, it’s hard or maybe even impossible to get it back.

Information overload is real. New information is constantly available. Everywhere readers look someone is trying to grab their attention.

You have to learn to rise above the fray with smart digital content strategies. Keep content straightforward. Engage visitors with videos, infographics, and other multimedia elements. Make digital content easy to read. Put the most important information above the digital fold. And if you really want to hold their attention… 

Keep Print Media in the Mix

Print is far from dead. Millennials read more magazines than any other adult demographic. When polled, the majority of readers said they prefer reading in print to doing so digitally.

Print also makes it easier to remember what you read. The act of reading—touching paper, seeing words on a page, smelling the ink, etc.—creates tactile memories. What you read is easier to remember with those other senses engaged.

Online, digital content is scanned. Only 20 percent of words on a page are actually read on average.

That’s not to say you should give up on digital content. It’s an important part of content strategy. Information needs to be accessible, and digital is the way to do that.

Just make sure your online voice is clear, presented clearly, and useful.

To learn more about how True North Custom can help you identify and refine your digital content strategy to keep visitors engaged, contact Chief Marketing Officer Jason Skinner at jskinner@truenorthcustom.com.

Topics: Digital Marketing

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