The need for ways to measure "real" online engagement has never been more urgent. To effectively reach consumers in today's fragmented media landscape, advertisers and publishers need a deeper understanding of which content resonates when, and on what device. Advancements in online advertising analytics can now show if an ad was actually viewed and this capability is pushing many advertisers, publishers and agencies to think beyond clicks and impressions.
Yet Facebook shares and likes are only a small piece of the content engagement puzzle. That's because although nearly everyone consumes content, only a small percentage of people share content to the big social networks. An accurate measure of online engagement requires a more granular look at online behaviors that go beyond sharing. One very specific way to measure online engagement is scrolling.
Scrolling is a strong sign of content interest and is another key indicator that publishers and advertisers should consider when planning content marketing and media strategies. Combined with sharing, emailing, bookmarking, copy/paste, URL and printing, scrolling is an important trend to watch. Collectively, these content engagement actions can help website owners optimize their media efforts to promote the right content on the right device at the right time.
Specifically, AddThis recently conducted an analysis of 50,000 unique, anonymous web browsers during the period of April 1-June 30, 2014 that scrolled content among randomly selected websites. These websites featured a wide range of content including entertainment, fashion, finance, and business. All data in the analysis was non-personally identifiable.
Ten key findings from the analysis include:
1. Consumers on Apple devices have a higher propensity to engage with multi-page content.
2. Normalized across time zones, content engagement rates are seen when campaigns are delivered during traditional business hours of 9:00 am - 5:00 pm.
3. Further, scrolling behavior is 55 percent more likely to occur on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 20 percent more likely to occur during business hours.
4. Social marketing may not be optimal for medium- and long-form content with multiple pages as 65 percent of social referrals resulted in a single page view.
5. Ads delivered on pages that are optimized with content engagement tools have an 85 percent higher viewability rate.
6. Delivering media to sites that have higher scrolling and content engagement rates lead to a 30 percent increase in brand awareness.
7. Browsers located in $100K+ average income zip codes are eight percent more likely to scroll content compared to other parts of the country.
8. The largest concentration of scrollers is located in the Northeast, which represented six out of the seven most active states for scrolling activity.
9. Scrollers are 46 percent more likely to share content via Facebook yet are 33 percent less likely to share content via Twitter.
10. 65 percent of browsers will bounce after one page visit when the referring URL is from a social network.
It's clear that by taking a closer look at scrolling, publishers, advertisers and agencies can go beyond clicks and impressions to deliver more meaningful content experiences for their target audience.