Why consumers stop reading before the end of the page... and how to stop this

Wed, 22/08/2018 - 09:00

Consumers have short attention spans. They prefer watching shorter videos, hearing shorter audio clips and (unfortunately) often do not reach the end of a piece of content. For marketing companies, this short attention span can be difficult to combat, especially when it comes to written content.

Copy, whether it is long-form or short-form, is a great way to increase your online rankings, but it is also important to grab the interest of your readers. In order to do so, we have to figure out why consumers stop reading before the end of the page before we learn how to stop this from happening. 

People are impatient searchers

In today’s fast-paced world, people have become impatient and often want instant results. This means that they often scan articles or blog posts rather than reading them. And if an article is too long or the information they need is not easily found, they will click away in search of better results

The internet can be seen as a participatory medium, engaging users and enabling them to educate themselves by searching for information. However, consumers have become impatient due to increased internet speeds, and this has translated into their willingness to read through a long article in order to find the information they are looking for. All is not lost, as many marketing agencies are well aware of the fact that consumers want information “here and now” and have attuned to this need. 

Some pages look or feel like hard work

This ties in with the fact above, that people are impatient searches. If your web pages look or feel like hard work, then it is most likely that people will stop reading before they get to the end of the page. 

You might be using empty words and phrases, such as: “Always striving for excellence, we keep your interests at heart” or other similar phrases that add bulk rather than relevance. Because of these lengthy sentences, you will find that consumers simply skip the entirety of your article or skim read it to find the information. Never ask your readers to do the heavy lifting. Make your sentences easy to understand, punchy and informative. 

Consumers have become scanners

Today, people do not read a webpage in the same way they read a book or a newspaper. When they are browsing the internet, they are looking for a specific answer in the shortest amount of time possible. 

Eye-tracking studies show that people scan a website page in an “F” shape when searching for the information they need. For any digital marketing agency in Johannesburg and the rest of South Africa, this means that your content structure needs to change. Bulleted lists are an ideal solution to the “F” shape of scan-readers. They will be able to find the information they are looking for with ease. And using snappy subheadings that tell consumers what the paragraph is about will ensure they continue to read the article to find the information they need. 

So, how do you stop this?

Marketing companies that use content marketing as part of their strategy for clients need to be able to keep the attention of consumers when they read their articles or blogs. This means that your strategies or content layouts might need to change to accommodate the speed-reading tendencies of consumers. 

Use compelling subheadings: There are few simpler ways to make your content interesting and readable to consumers. Make sure your subheadings are compelling, which can be done by writing them before you move to your paragraphs. This will also help to give you guidance on what the paragraph should focus on. 

Invest in images: The online-generation is a visual one. This means that in order to keep them reading your content, you will need to insert images into your copy to make it more visually interesting. Infographics with information relating to the topic of your blog post or article are highly effective, as are comics and funny images that break up the paragraphs. 

Keep your paragraphs short and sweet: If you welcome visitors to your site with a wall of text, the chances are that they will click away without getting past the first sentence. Try to reduce the length and amount of sentences, and stick to one idea per paragraph to keep the interest of your readers. A straightforward format is much better at keeping a reader’s interest. 

Did you make it to the end?

Consumers today have short attention spans, which means that copy has to be written to fit this. You will have to create content that is relevant, informational, punchy and exciting to read. This will grab the attention of the reader and keep it until the end of the page. Invest in using images, use surprising subheadings and keep it short and sweet. Soon enough, you will find that your consumers are making it to the end of your articles!

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