HOW PUBLISHERS CAN INCREASE
USER TIME ON SITE
Written by Betty
4 Jul, 2020
Why is it important to track the time spent on your website? Aren't the number of pages visited good enough? Well, not really. Time on site gives a much more accurate indication of how readers are engaged with your content. The numbers of pages visited can be often high, but that doesn't necessarily mean the readers are paying attention to your content. Imagine a number of 10 pages visited in 30 seconds - the reader just skimmed through a couple of pages, and left without much interest. The time spent combined with the number of pages visited can give you the right reader engagement overview.
Should you want higher time spent on your website? Yes! It brings a lot of benefits - including higher ad revenue. More engaged readers are of more value to the advertisers, which leads to increased CPMs. We'll give you tips on how to achieve higher-quality traffic, more time on site and more pages per session, and how to make the best out of it.
The benefits of increased user time on page
Publishers should aim for longer on-site time spent because it leads to increased ad revenue. But it's not just that. Let's have a look at the benefits of increasing user time on page.
Higher conversion rates
The longer the readers stay on your webpage, the more likely it is they will take the action you'd like them to perform - whether it is a subscription of the newsletter, or a purchase.
Higher ad revenue
Time spent on a website is one of the most important ways to increase revenue for a publisher. Why?
- By spending more time on your website the value of the reader for advertisers gets higher, so they are willing to spend more money in the bidding process. Unengaged users are of not much value to publishers, as they abandon the website. That increases the bounce rate, reduces conversions and diminishes ad revenue.
- The longer the reader is on your page the higher amount of ads they will see.
- They will also see them for a longer time - the ad viewability will increase, which is one of the key metrics in determining CPM.
Apart from revenue benefits, tracking time on your side also helps to determine how people actually feel about your page. User experience should always a priority and if readers are not getting value from your page they won't come back to it next time. So, if the time spent is rather low, something is probably missing on your website and you might want to re-think your content strategy. If readers spend higher time on your site, you'll get the benefit of running a good website and enjoying loyal returning readers.
How to increase user time on page
There are several ways to increase the user time on page. There has to be a good user experience when a reader lands on the publisher's page in the first place, followed by engaging content that's just right for the reader.
1. Improve UX
Clear Design of the webpage
The first interaction with your website is the most important. According to Sweor, it takes only about 0.05 seconds for users to form an opinion about your website that determines whether they like your site or not, and whether they’ll stay or leave. It is thus essential to have a well organized page that includes a clear navigation bar and an easy site search tool. You should also aim for clean design and avoid using too many colours, different font types, different font sizing, etc. There is not one right solution for everyone, but having a clear site that encourages the user to stay on it is crucial.
Fast page loading
Even if your page has a great design and updated content, if it doesn't load fast enough, nobody will be left around to see it.
A survey from Unbounce revealed that 27% of people are only willing to wait up to three seconds for a site to load on their phone, 32% are willing to wait up to six seconds, and only 24% are willing to wait longer than six seconds.
There might be various reasons why your page isn't loading fast enough - resolution of images or videos is too high, the page includes too many heavy codes or maybe too many complex ads. To fix it you might need to minify your HTML and CSS, reduce server response time, set up browser caching, etc. Taking care of your site speed might get tricky, so using tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights or Ad Audits tool for Lighthouse can help.
Page loading time is becoming more of an important factor when it comes to search engine rankings. A faster page will rank higher, giving the opportunity to bring more leads to your webpage from organic results.
Online reading is very different from offline reading. Having well-organized articles is almost as important as the content it has. It is good to have shorter paragraphs, bullet points, headings, clear and large enough font type, or bold, underlined and italic words to make the navigation in the text easier. Using words that are easy to understand rather than complicated phrases might be better as well. To understand how well your content is performing, you can use one of the plugins available at your webpage provider. For WordPress, there is a popular plugin Yoast that will grade your readability score.
People are more and more used to reading and shopping from the comfort of their smartphones, so having a mobile friendly website design for your web page is a must. The growth in mobile ads is also evident - In 2019, mobile advertising spending worldwide amounted to 190 billion U.S. dollars and it is expected to surpass 280 billion dollars by 2022. (Statista)
Set Up Redirects for Broken Links
If a user lands on a page that no longer exists, the natural action is to close it, and leave. There are many reasons for deleting a content page, and that's just fine, but always make sure you set up redirects to avoid increasing bounce rates. Keeping track of all broken links can be challenging, so you might want to have a look at existing plugins of your website provider - for WordPress users have a look at Redirection.
2. V.I.P Content
At the end of the day, it's all about content. Having this right is what brings the readers to your page in the first place. Apart from having the right topics, you might also want to have V.I.P. content 😎 - Visualizing, Interactive and Personalized.
Including images, infographics, graphs, or videos makes the content more interesting and appealing for the readers. Remember, online reading is different, and the attention span is much lower, so including visuals might help to engage the reader for a longer time.
It might be also good to include questions accompanied by the comments sections or surveys, where readers can express their opinions, and become active participants rather than passive visitors.
Last but not least, having personalized content is vital. The more the content is of the users interest, the more likely they are to continue browsing. In order to best know your reader, you should start by collecting and analyzing user data, segmenting your audience, and providing the right content for each group.
You could even use the unique visitor data every time they enter your page and serve them the content they will be most interested in, which can be in the form of follow-up content, recommended articles or Call to Actions on the page.
What about the article length?
You might think having longer content would automatically help increase time on site, but longer doesn't always mean better. Sometimes long content might be too complicated and daunting for the reader, so balancing in-depth pieces with shorter, easier to digest articles, might be the best way to go.
3. Sparkle the interest
Time spent increases with more articles read, that's clear. There are several easy but very effective ways to encourage readers to engage with more content and promote the content discovery. Such as having:
- A clear navigation menu, ideally with a navigation sidebar displaying all the major content categories. Your best content should be available just in one or two click in the menu - think of including a popular articles category.
- Internal linking to other articles on your website - which not only promotes your older articles still of value but also increases SEO.
- Recommendations for next articles related to the content the readers have already consumed. For this trick there also exist many webpage plugins, such as Custom Related Posts, or you can have a look at Matched Content units provided by AdSense to do the same effect.
4. Target the leaving customers
Even despite having a well designed site with great content, some readers will abandon the page anyway. There's one last chance to keep them on your page, or at least to get them to perform an action you'd like - by monitoring the exit intent. There are tools available that track the movement of the user's mouse, and can spot if a reader is about to leave the page. In that moment, such a tool presents a Call to Action button, e.g. with a newsletter sign-up, a free download, or a discount. In that way you connect with the leaving visitor, and perhaps turn them into a returning user once more. HelloBar is a great example of a tool you could use here.
5. Beware of unwanted ads
Ads greatly affect the visitors behavior - make sure to have ads that are relevant to the visitor, and do not make up a major part of the site thus lowering the user experience. Publift can help you with optimising your ad inventory.
6. Analyze and see what works best for you
All in all, there is not one recipe that works for all. You should engage in using on-site analytics, and see what works best for your audience. Continually look at which pages and content types are performing well, and where the bounce and exit rate are high. Use the data to draw conclusions, adapt, and align your content strategy to have the best performing website.
How to take advantage of longer user time on page
To maximize the ad revenue coming from your ad inventory, you can engage in two types of ads that are especially fitting for higher time spent on site.
Ad refresh, also known as automatically refreshing ads, is a technique which allows for active users of the web page to be served multiple ads during their unique visit based on predefined triggers. There are many types of triggers that lead to the refresh of the ad, such as a user performing of a certain action - such as usage of the search tool, scroll on the webpage, participation in a survey, etc., or a time count - e.g. new ad every 30 seconds. Thanks to ad refresh a visitor sees more ads per session than they would without it, which directly leads to higher ad revenues due to the increased number of ads served. This method increases the number of impressions served by session.
Another method for increasing ad revenue due to longer time spent on site are sticky ads. Sticky ads are especially good for increasing the viewability rate. These ads are placed on a fixed place of the webpage and do not disappear when the user scrolls down or up the page. Sticky ads usually perform better than standard display ads mostly because of the higher viewability rate, which leads to advertisers gladly paying a premium for them, resulting in higher CPMs and ad revenue. However, make sure that sticky ads do not take up a significant part of your content which would lead to a poor user experience. Publift can help you with optimizing just that.
Tracking the average time spent on site is necessary to get the right impression about how engaged your readers really are with your webpage.
Higher average time spent on page leads to higher conversion rates as well as higher ad revenues, as advertisers are happy to pay extra for a truly engaged user. Higher user time on page can be achieved by implementing multiple strategies such as improving user experience, personalizing content, or sparkling interest by recommending related content.
Ad revenue can be moreover increased by implementing sticky ads and ad refresh that are especially suitable for web pages with high average time spent per page. Get in touch with Publift to help you get started with those and start increasing your ad revenue today.
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