girl reading book




That is, if they read it at all.

Clicking Doesn’t Mean Reading

As the CEO of Chartbeat, a company that analyzes real-time web analytics, Tony Haile (2014) has seen a lot of data on what people are doing online.

In the advertising world, clicks were king for a long time. A lot of money has changed hands over pay-per-click and page views, both of which measure the success of online advertising by counting clicks. Haile says that’s the wrong measurement.

Haile looked at 2 billion online interactions, most of them from online articles and news sites, and found that 55 percent of the time people spend less than 15 seconds on a page. This means they’re not reading the news articles.

Chartbeat’s data scientist, Josh Schwartz, analyzed scroll depth on article pages. Most people who come to an article scroll through 60 percent of it. Ten percent never scroll, which means they’re not reading much.

Haile says instead of clicks, we should concentrate on the amount of attention the audience gives, and whether they come back.
Some organizations have started using a metric of “attention minutes.”

Sharing Doesn’t Equal Reading

Another action that’s sought after is sharing on social media. The assumption is that if people share an article they’ve read what they’re sharing, right?

The relationship between reading and sharing is weak. Articles that are read all the way through aren’t necessarily shared. Articles that are shared have likely not been read past 60 percent. According to Adrianne Jeffries (2014), most sharing occurs either at 25 percent through the article or at the end of the article, but not much in between.


  • Don’t assume people are reading the whole article.
  • Put your most important information before the 60 percent point of the article.
  • When you want people to share the article, remind them to do that about 25 percent of the way through the article and again at the end.
  • Don’t assume that if people shared the article that means they read all or even most of it.


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