Audience Engagement Digital Publishing Top Stories
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“More than 60% of readers do not return”: What publishers can do to stem the tide and boost engagement

45% of readers who load an article will leave within the first 15 seconds and more than 60% will not return, according to a new Chartbeat whitepaper. 

The Essential Engagement KPIs for Optimizing Conversion Rates,” delves into the importance of developing an effective audience engagement strategy, the essential KPIs for tracking it, and how publishers can use the measurements to build strategies that will optimize conversion rates. 

Developing an effective audience engagement strategy is a pivotal step on the road towards revenue goals. Not only can it have a direct impact on monetization through impressions and advertising, but more importantly, it can lead to increased loyalty and other behaviors that indicate readers are ready to convert to subscribers. 

The Essential Engagement KPIs for Optimizing Conversion Rates

“Opportunity to build engagement and loyalty”

The essential KPIs suggested by the report include:

  • Engaged time is the average time readers spend engaging with a page i.e. scrolling and clicking. It “carries more weight than pageviews or time on site because it not only identifies the topics and formats that capture readers’ attention but the ones that hold on to it as well.” 
  • Scroll Depth refers to how far visitors scroll down the page after loading it. As readers scroll down a page, time in view rises until its peak at around 1200 pixels. This presents an “opportunity to build engagement and loyalty when content convinces readers to take that first scroll.”
  • Recirculation “compares the number of people on a page to the number of people who move on to another new page from that content.” When combined with scroll depth it shows where the majority of readers are exiting a page. Publishers can use this information to insert links at such points that encourage readers to click on another interesting article. 
  • Frequency of Visit: Chartbeat segments readers into three categories — new, returning, and loyal depending on how often they visit a site. New visitors are those who come to a site for the first time in 30 days. Readers who visit the site more than once in 30 days are termed Returning visitors. And those who have visited it at least 8 of the last 16 days are called Loyal visitors. 

Segmenting audiences based on engagement

Measuring the right KPIs is critical, but just one element of the audience engagement strategy. Using the information gained to create reader journeys that lead to increased loyalty, conversion rates, and ultimately, revenue is equally important.

Chartbeat collaborated with dynamic paywall solution provider, Poool, to get insights on moving visitors along the engagement funnel towards subscription. Poool recommends segmenting audiences based on the level of engagement. It analyzed the digital audience of 42 French publishers of varying sizes and reach to identify 4 audience segments. These are Volatiles, Occasionals, Regulars, and Fans. 

Source: The Essential Engagement KPIs for Optimizing Conversion Rates

The segmentation is based on readers’ recency, frequency, and volume scores. Poool shares tips for building engagement with each type.

Volatiles account for the majority of visits at 88.9% of the audience. However, they engage with the least number of pages. This segment can be motivated to consume more content by offering free articles, encouraging signup for email or push notifications, or prompting them to download an app for a better mobile experience.

Occasional and Regular visitors are relatively more engaged than Volatiles. Poool recommends creating a campaign to convert these users into newsletter subscribers or registered members. Fans are the most engaged non-subscribed readers and prime targets for conversion. They should be encouraged to subscribe via paywalls combined with the right amount of friction.

“Critical to improving conversion rates”

The report also shares soft conversion techniques to encourage deeper and more frequent visits from each group. These include prompting them to sign up for a newsletter or register to access additional content. These tactics allow publishers to stay connected with readers, send them content recommendations, as well as build a better understanding of their habits and preferences.

An analysis of the effectiveness of soft conversion techniques has revealed that Volatile users have the lowest conversion rate at 1.4%. Fans demonstrate a slightly higher rate at 1.84% although they are considerably more engaged than Volatiles. 

The conversion rate for registered members is a much higher 10.9%. “As the segment that was exposed to the most soft conversion steps prior to seeing a paywall, it’s clear that incorporating these events into the engagement funnel is critical to improving conversion rates,” the report states.

As these anonymous visitors become registered users, they will consume more content, move deeper into the engagement funnel, and become Regulars and Fans who are much more likely to subscribe than the Volatiles they once were.

The Essential Engagement KPIs for Optimizing Conversion Rates

The full whitepaper can be downloaded here:
The Essential Engagement KPIs for Optimizing Conversion Rates