How does the 80-20 Rule apply to pageviews and engagement?

The 80-20 Rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, is the idea that roughly 80% of results come from 20% of efforts. In practice, this might take the form of a farm where 80% of vegetables come from just 20% of crops or a business where 20% of customers account for 80% of revenue. No matter the industry, the actual ratio is less instructive than the idea that some efforts drive more value than others and identifying those value drivers can increase efficiency and productivity.

When it comes to publishing, identifying the articles that drive the lion’s share of readership has obvious benefits. Armed with this information, publishers could not only replicate the kind of content that leads to ROI, but they could also use optimization tools to apply the successful traits of that segment to the longtail of content that has a smaller audience.

To determine how closely the publishing world adheres to the 80-20 rule, our Data Science team analyzed thousands of websites from more than 70 countries to understand what percent of articles drive the majority of pageviews and how the ratio might vary by factors like site size and subject matter. Here’s what we learned.

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