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16 Statistics that reveal how people consume content online

Woman looking at laptop screen

Use these consumer behaviour stats to help you improve your blog’s performance. 

The digital landscape is noisier and more fragmented than ever, and viewer behavior is evolving in kind. As you’ll see in the statistics below, consumers are savvy, they know what they’re looking for and producing more content doesn’t necessarily lead to results. 

To win at B2B content marketing, brands need to embrace these simple truths about how their audience is consuming content online and cater to those preferences. Here are 16 statistics that illuminate the patterns and preferences of consumers in how they consume content. We’ve grouped them into four behavior traits that you can use to make your content easier to consume, and (more importantly) more valuable to your reader.

Behavior #1: Shallow viewing

Let’s face it. People don’t usually read full articles or webpages online, they just skim through the content for the important stuff. That raises an important question: are you creating digital content that is optimized for the modern consumer? 

  • 55% of all page views get less than 15 seconds of attention (Chartbeat)
  • 60-70% of B2B content goes unseen (SiriusDecisions)
  • Visitors who read an article for three minutes returned twice as often as those who read for one minute (Chartbeat) 
  • In 2008, a study concluded that visitors will only read about 20% of the text on the average page (Jakob Nielsen
  • 2-3 letter words are skipped over almost 75% of the time, while 8 letter words are almost always fixated upon (Eyethink)
  • Only 10-20% of readers scroll to the bottom of their posts (CoSchedule)

Optimizing for shallow viewing: 

Know your audience. You can use intent data to cut through the clutter and provide valuable, relevant content to your viewers. 

Evaluate quality vs. quantity in your content strategy to improve your content team’s productivity. Focus your team’s time and resources on the topics and formats that drive results. 

Behavior #2: Brand perception is influenced by design

If you’re experiencing high bounce rates, the culprit may not be the quality of your content, but a flaw in your content experience. Viewers are looking for a beautiful environment—one of the key pillars in our content experience framework—and will form an opinion about your brand based on the experience you create around your content.

  • 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content or layout are unattractive (Hubspot)  
  • 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design (Stanford)
  • 39% of people will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load (Adobe)

Optimizing for the design-focused eye: 

Content experience is king. Re-evaluate where your content lives and start building a better content experience. Unsure what a content experience is? Here’s a helpful explainer. 

Increase your content’s discoverability to help your readers find exactly what they’re looking for.

Behavior #3: Seamlessly moving between devices

More and more, people are moving seamlessly across devices and they expect their experiences to be seamless, too. Mobile responsiveness and mobile-first experiences will only become more important over time.

  • Mobile devices drove 61% of visits to U.S. websites in 2020, up from 57% in 2019 (Google
  • More than half of all video views come from mobile devices (TechJury)
  • In 2020, as many as 70% of all B2B inquiries were made through smartphones, according to B2B mobile vs desktop data (Smart Insights)
  • It looks like screen size influences cart size. When it comes to making online purchases, cart sizes are 24% larger on a desktop than a smartphone and 14% higher on tablets than smartphones (Digital Commerce 360)

Optimizing for co-viewers and multi-devicers: 

Data analytics can help you understand which devices your audience is using to navigate your site with. Are there interesting patterns in what content formats they’re consuming and which actions they’re taking on different devices? If so, optimize your experience to cater to those preferences.

Behavior #4: Reading patterns reveal the most valuable real estate

Understanding how the eye moves throughout your site will help you determine where to put your most important information—and which information consumers deem most important. 

  • Web users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of a page and 30% viewing the right (Jakob Nielsen)
  • Web users spend 80% of their time looking at information above the page fold. Although users will scroll, they allocate only 20% of their attention below the fold. (Jakob Nielsen
  • The pattern in which people consume online content isn’t your typical left-to-right reading that you learned in school — rather, it’s an “F” shape that indicates users aren’t reading your content thoroughly. (Jakob Nielsen)
    F Shape Reading Pattern
    Source: Jakob Nielsen, 2006.

Optimizing for reading patterns: 

When you plan the look of your content destination, be sure to utilize the space above the fold to share the content that you really want your viewer to see for the best chance of taking them on a binge-worthy content journey. 

Give your customers more of what they want

With so much competition for your prospect’s attention, you can drive results by understanding your audience and catering to their preferences. You want prospects to enjoy the experience and find value in the content they find on your blog. Remove as many blocks as possible, which may be as simple as balancing your beautifully written blog post with more imagery, and watch your blog’s performance skyrocket!