Online Publishers Seek Reader Engagement for Good Business


First came clickbait. Now comes engagement.

Disillusioned with page views as a reliable metric of their ads’ effectiveness, advertisers are increasingly demanding to know whether readers stick around long enough to actually see their online ads. Publishers — as if the need to pursue clicks and Facebook “virality” wasn’t stressful enough — implore their troops to post stories that might actually be read, preferably all the way to the end.

The Economist, Gawker, Forbes and the Financial Times are among some notable names in the online publishing business starting to rethink the way they present their content and sell their ads, focusing on the amount of time spent on their content by readers. To be sure, no one wants less traffic. But some news outlets are starting to pitch “audience attention” as a selling point in response to skepticism from advertisers about clicks and as a self-serving way to stand out among the hundreds of millions of websites.

Among the means publishers employ to keep readers reading: leaving their more compelling content on the site longer; creating clutter-free website designs to make it easier to find the best material; posting more quizzes; using prominent “embeds” of videos, links and tweets in stories; assigning longform articles; creating never-ending pages that just scroll on with more content loads; showcasing photo galleries that stay on one long page rather than flipped pages.

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Source: USA Today |

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