[A recent study conducted by the Poynter Institute set out to take a scientific look at how most people go about reading news content, and to learn if there was a significant difference in the way they read content online versus in a printed format.
This may be the first time that a study of this type was conducted at this scale. Of all those who participated in the study, 70% said that they read their news content in either print or online format four times per week.
The study tracked their eye movements in 15-minute reading sessions. These reading sessions revealed how long readers spent with the stories they picked, as well as a host of other details regarding their reading patterns and preferences.
Here are some of the general findings:
– People are drawn to alternative story forms, such as sidebars, lists, captions, Q&A’s and timelines.
– Photos capture a lot of immediate attention.
– Real photos capture more attention than staged or studio photographs.
– 77% of the participants prefer to read their news content online.
– And nearly two-thirds of the online readers, once they selected an item to read, read all of the text.
By the way, this study was partially funded by the newspaper industry. How’s that for irony?
So how does this information affect the typical marketer? It all comes down to the quality of content. As long as you create content that is relevant, on message and valuable to your readers, they will continue to give it the time and attention it deserves.