Online engagement is so much more than just an impression. Measuring how deeply an audience interacts with your content is an important step to understanding not just the quantity of interactions, but also the quality and level of audience engagement with the subject matter.
So what impact does the source of traffic have on reader engagement? According to our latest research there are considerable differences in engagement when it comes to three major types of traffic sources: search engines, social media and content discovery.
Since Outbrain tracks traffic to all content pages across our network of 100,000+ publisher sites, we are in a unique position to study engagement levels of incoming traffic at scale. We pulled a 3-month sample data set of over 2 billion consumer sessions that exceeded 3.4 billion page views in total. The data looks at sessions that started on external sites and compares engagement of traffic referred from search, social and discovery.
Audience Engagement Key findings
Discovery traffic views 100% more pages per session than search traffic and 165% more pages per session than social traffic.
Discovery traffic is 23% less likely to bounce than search traffic and 32% less likely to bounce than social traffic. Readers who discover content via paid recommendations may have the lowest tendency to bounce because content recommendations target an audience that is already engaged and in content consumption mode. Traffic coming from social media sources, on the other hand, has the highest tendency to bounce.
Regardless of platform (mobile, desktop and tablet) discovery traffic views the most pages per session of the three traffic sources.
Discovery traffic is most engaged with travel content, search traffic is most engaged with health content and social traffic is most engaged with entertainment content. Discovery traffic is less likely than search or social traffic to bounce from every category except electronics (search’s highest performing category and discovery’s lowest performing category).
Overall, audiences driven by content discovery are more engaged and more likely to stay on-site longer than audiences driven by search and social. These finding suggest it can be a much more efficient channel for both driving interactions with branded content, as well as developing longer-term sustainable relationships with audiences.
Measuring referred traffic engagement can offer real insights into how different audiences are interacting with your content. Through this understanding it’s possible to track what’s really working both in terms of sourcing traffic and keeping them engaged on your site for longer.
Download the full report below.