Nieman Lab summarizes two different studies that come to roughly the same conclusion: People want longer, weightier content.
In particular, a study from Parse.ly has found roughly half of website visitors stick around for between one and five minutes. Though much of the rest of the traffic lasts less than a minute, it excludes the quick exits that often result from inadvertent clicks. Only a handful of visits last more than five minutes. Over 40% of visitors are what are termed “long stays,” lasting more than 60 seconds.
That’s 60 seconds you have to make your case to the visitor. A whole minute is an eternity in internet time and should encourage any company or publisher who’s been pivoting to a distributed content strategy – one that doesn’t include an owned “hub” – to reconsider their tactics.
A minute gives you the opportunity to make the case for further reading.
A minute gives you the opportunity to make a convincing sales pitch.
A minute gives you the opportunity to develop some brand loyalty.
Yes, there are also opportunities to get people to sign up for an email newsletter or otherwise opt-in for some additional and repeated messaging. It’s just those opportunities should not be seized at the expense of the user experience. Don’t interrupt what the *visitor* wants to do now with what *you* want them to do.
That’s a minute they’re not spending elsewhere. If you have adopted a wholly-distributed content model, publishing and engaging on all sorts of other platforms and networks, you’re missing out on the opportunities that present themselves on owned websites. There’s the potential to do so much more and own more of the visitor experience as opposed to being part of a larger stream of updates and information flow that it’s seen as disposable.
Chris Thilk is a freelance writer and content strategist who lives in the Chicago suburbs.