The Most Important Thing Publishers Need to Do to Build a Long-Term Audience

One of the things that publishers struggle with is trying to figure out how to turn drive-by readers into loyal readers.

At Contextly, we think that one of the best ways to build an engaged audience is to pair great content with high-quality recommendations that are a mix of very relevant content and engaging, but not-necessarily-related content from your own site.

Contextly doesn’t include paid links that send readers off publishers’ sites because that’s no way to solve an engagement problem or build a loyal audience.

Chartbeat just published an infographic from the traffic data they’ve analyzed from over 60 billion page views, and it backs up that thesis. The company combed through its data to figure out what it is that brings a reader back to a publication — which is to say return readers.

If you look closely below you’ll notice that the single, most important factor in being able to predict if a reader from Google, Twitter or Facebook will return to your site is whether they read more than one article during a visit..

You can predict with a 54% certainty that a visitor following a link from Facebook or Twitter will return to your site IF that reader reads more than one page on your site. For a reader who shows up via Google search that number is 51%, again IF that reader views at least a second story.

If someone visits your publication’s homepage directly, there is an 81% likelihood they will return, no matter what. Which is another way of saying that you want readers to begin to think highly enough of your site that they will type it into their browser bar.

tc-return-infographic (1)

This makes it very clear that publishers need to make sure that their site gives readers very clear ways to get to their other content; and they need for those recommendations and navigation units to show off their best content. That’s what Contextly does with its-best-in-class content recommendations.

There’s lots of of other interesting stuff on Chartbeat’s blog. The company’s focus these days is on how to give publishers the info they need to build a long-term audience, which it rightly perceives to be the future for publishers.

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