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Do People Read Long Articles on Their Smartphones?

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Long-form news articles get roughly the same number of mobile visitors as short-form articles, but they garner twice as much engaged time, according to recent data from the Pew Research Center.

The report was based on Parse.ly audience behavior data for 74,840 articles from 30 US news sites that were accessed by 71 million visitors using their smartphones. Some 24% of the pieces examined were considered long-form (1,000 words or more).

Although shorter news content is far more prevalent than long-form, and therefore draws more total traffic, individual lengthy articles are accessed at nearly the same rate on mobile devices as short pieces, the analysis found.

Moreover, the total engaged time with articles 1,000 words or longer averages about twice that of the engaged time with short-form stories: 123 seconds compared with 57.

This gap between short- and long-form content in engaged time remains consistent across time of day and the pathway taken to get to the news story, the researchers found.


About the research: The report was based on Parse.ly audience behavior data for 74,840 articles from 30 US news sites that were accessed by 71 million visitors using their smartphones.


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Ayaz Nanji is an independent digital strategist and a co-founder of ICW Content, a marketing agency specializing in content creation for brands and businesses. He is also a research writer for MarketingProfs. He has worked for Google/YouTube, the Travel Channel, AOL, and the New York Times.

LinkedIn: Ayaz Nanji

Twitter: @ayaznanji

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