Global audience insights from the first quarter of 2023

In the first quarter of 2023, Average Engaged Time declined in the Middle East, Mobile audiences grew in Southeast and Central Asia, and loyal readership remained highest in Central / Eastern Europe.

Read on for more global insights from our first quarter research below.

Compare to our previous insights: Q4 2022 | Q3 2022 | Q2 2022

Engaged Time highest in Africa and the Middle East

Readers in Africa were the most engaged audience with 36.2 seconds of Average Engaged Time. The Middle East and Central / Eastern Europe followed with 35.8 and 35.5 seconds, respectively.

Most regions saw an increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2022, with the exception of the Middle East, where Average Engaged Time dropped almost 9 seconds. 

Mobile traffic grows in Southeast and Central Asia

Audiences in Southeast Asia continue to consume content almost exclusively on mobile devices, with 87% of pageviews in the region occurring on a mobile device. Central Asia followed closely at 84%, an increase from 80% last quarter.

While pageviews from mobile devices grew in most regions, Africa and Southern Europe each saw a 1-2% decline in their mobile traffic as compared to the previous quarter.

Search traffic declines in Central Asia and Africa

38% of pageviews in Central Asia came from Search in the first quarter, down from 42% last quarter. Africa also saw a noticeable drop in Search pageviews, falling from 39% to 34%.

Pageviews from Social grow in Africa, North America, and Southern Europe

Africa continues to see the highest percentage of pageviews from Social, increasing from 22% in the fourth quarter of 2022 to 24% last quarter. North America and Central / Eastern Europe followed at 18% and 16%, respectively.

A few regions saw a decrease of 1-2%, including Latin America and Central Asia.

Loyalty grows in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia

Central / Eastern Europe continues to see the highest percent of pageviews come from loyal readers at 49%. Africa saw the largest increase from quarter to quarter, improving from 29% to 33%.

While most regions saw increases or no change, Southern Europe decreased from 37% to 36% and Southeast Asia decreased from 37% to 35%.

Takeaways from our first quarter research

1. Audiences are more engaged early in the year.

In 2021 and 2022, Average Engaged Time gradually decreased throughout the year, making the second quarter a critical time to implement or reevaluate engagement strategies.

2. Despite first quarter gains, Social still trails Search.

After consecutive quarters of declines, traffic from Social grew or stayed level in most regions. As a percentage of pageviews, however, its 15% still trails Search’s 29% by a wide margin.

3. Loyalty begins with engagement.

Central / Eastern Europe has seen consistent increases in Average Engaged Time over the last year and now leads the world in percentage of pageviews from loyal readers. The good news for all regions? Loyal readers consume about 2.5 times as much content per visit as new readers so modest gains this quarter can yield an outsized effect.

Get even more unique research and insights in our monthly newsletter – sign up here.

More in Research