Recirculation: Capturing Your Audience and Guiding Their Journey
Online publishers know too well how the unpredictable media landscape challenges their growth; shortened attention spans in a fickle and content-saturated environment make it hard for your content to catch on. Getting someone’s attention is difficult — what do you do once you have it?
Creating quality content isn’t the only goal. Page layout is critical for capturing a user and keeping them moving through your site. It’s integral to open doors to your content for them to walk through. Readers on your page are hungry; they may come for one thing but are usually interested in more. If they move onto additional content the time they’re spending with you is multiplying and the longer they engage with you the more they associate with you as a go-to source.
This is where Recirculation comes in: it measures how much of your audience went from one piece of content on your site to another. It indicates the quality of your strategy for keeping readers moving through your site and ensures that none of your content is a dead end to their journey.
Recirculation in Action
The Heads Up Display tool is a great way to assess how well your article page layout promotes user Recirculation.Your site-wide recirculation turns red, you’re underperforming your expectations. We know that means one of your top articles is a traffic leaking machine, a dead-end on your site where visitors aren’t continuing on, a missed opportunity to better capture your audience. Select the top few pages to find the hole and inform your next steps. With the scroll depth indicator you can easily see how far down the page most users are actually reading and maximize the space above the drop-off point. Every audience is different so you should develop a link strategy that works for you. To get started, check out these insights our data science team gathered from a study of almost 300 publishers:
- The majority of clicks happen just above the fold at page depths of 400 to 600 pixels, where most main content links typically live (as seen in the graph above)
- Larger links (including linked headlines) correlate with higher click-through rates
- Sites with links placed more closely together perform about 2.5x better than sites with more pixels between links
All in all, these statistics indicate that a few large links interspersed with many smaller, closely spaced links will result in the best recirculation.
Put it to Work
You can also track your audience’s journey by selecting an article in the Dashboard and checking the recirculation section beneath the graph. Take this example:
The first page listed shows us that 14 were reading “British Scientists Discuss the European Union” and recirculated directly to “Google Searches Suggest Many in UK Don’t Understand Brexit” and are still there right now.
To track the success of these strategies historically, look at the internal navigation path filter in Report Builder to build a list of additional articles your audience moved to from a given story. Try adding metrics such as average and total engaged time to get an idea of what was most interesting to these users.
Is there a topic or a time-of-day connection? Use these patterns to inform and adapt your link strategy and use Chartbeat tools to monitor your strategy’s success.
We highlight Recirculation because it provides insight into the quality of your users’ experience with your site beyond the first article they read. The idea is to get people moving throughout your content instead of bailing to their Facebook feeds or to Google and leaving you to fight the SEO battle. We know it’s hard to get a user onto your site; optimizing Recirculation ensures you are doing your best at keeping them there.
Want to dig deeper into Recirculation? Reach out to my team at firstname.lastname@example.org.