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While there is of course a relationship between the amount of traffic sent to an article and the number of social media interactions, you may be surprised to learn that this correlation doesn't extend to the number of people who actually read the article, as reported at The Verge.

Lead data scientist at Chartbeat, Josh Schwartz, says that while the study was focused on Tweets, that he expects Facebook shares would reflect the same pattern.


How could this be?

  1. Clicks to content on social are more likely to come from mobile devices, so readers will typically spend less time reading and are more likely to bounce immediately if a page is slow to load or the layout is not optimized for mobile.
  2. Some titles contain all of the information that a reader needs or wants to know, and with nothing left to the imagination, they may share the information without needing or wanting to read further.
  3. We live in the age of skim. As Farhad Manjoo points out in his article "You Won't Finish This Article" 38% of page visitors bounce almost immediately and spend no time engaging with the page, and only 50% aren't going to read past skimming 100 words into an article.


The Takeaway?

  • More people are reading your title than your full article. This also means that most people are deciding whether or not to share your content based not on the "meat" of your post, but rather based on the title.
  • Most readers scroll to the 50% mark (around the 1,000th pixel) if they read/skim at all. Make sure that your most important content is above this mark. Alternatively, keep your content as short and sweet as possible.
  • Make sure that your content is easy to skim. In the "age of skim" it makes sense to write content that is meant to be skimmed, rather than read as a whole, when possible.

How much time are you spending on your post titles?

Post by Zachary Chastain
July 20, 2015