Hot tip: Use this scroll depth heat map for a simple view of reader behavior

We’ve stressed that real-time adjustments informed by reader behavior can be huge for digital content creators, particularly when 45% of the readers who load an article will leave within the first 15 seconds

It’s just as important to look back at whether those optimizations lead to deeper reading, which is where scroll depth data comes in.

Want to skip ahead and create a scroll depth heat map? Go to our support site for a step-by-step guide

Here’s what we know about scroll depth and reader behavior

First, a quick refresher on scroll behavior. Based on our global publishing data:

  • The most viewed area of the page is just above the fold, the line where about 50% of readers will drop off.
  • The portion of the page below the fold is viewed for nearly 3x as long as the top of the page.
  • Readers who do scroll down past the fold engage much more towards the bottom of the page than they do at the top.

(For further reading on this topic, see: Scrolling in the Deep)


Harnessing Data to Improve Article Layouts and Reader Experiences

Swiss publisher Neue Zürcher Zeitung used Chartbeat’s Scroll Depth indicator to increase Average Engaged Time by 20% — see how in this new report.

Scroll depth heat maps: Your (informed) hot take on reader engagement

Your team can make better use of their time making content optimizations when reader drop-offs are clearly laid out. That’s why we’ve helped thousands of publishers create a scroll depth histogram (which you can turn into a handy heat map) using our Advanced Queries tool and Google Sheets. 

Here is an example of the final product:

reader behavior heat map in google sheets

Make scroll depth data digestible for your team so they can clearly see how readers interact with certain articles or topics. Moving forward, it will help inform the adjustments needed to get your audience further down the page.

Get started here. If you have any questions, send us an email at

Don’t have Advanced Queries in Chartbeat? Learn more about the feature here.

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