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Revealing Digital Behaviors #2: Reading

Jack Maden  |  June 28, 2017

Jack Maden  |  June 28, 2017


This is the second post in a series in which we introduce the digital behaviors picked out in our report, Revealing Digital Behavior: Applying Data Science to 2.2 Billion User Sessions. Just as someone shouting in a shop is evidence of a poor customer experience in-store – and someone smiling a good one – certain digital body language indicates the equivalent online.

The first post discussed multiclick behavior. This article looks at reading behavior and what it means in relation to customer experience.


What is reading behavior? Users follow on-page content with their mouse

Which device? Desktop

What does it mean? Engagement

How do teams utilize it? To inform content strategy

Reading behavior refers to when a user directly follows the content they are reading with their mouse. It’s rare that a user will follow, say, an entire paragraph – but just a line or so is actually rather common.


A mouse trail showing reading behavior on Decibel Insight's website

This kind of mouse reading is indicative of real user engagement – think of it as the digital equivalent of a customer picking up and interacting with a product in-store.

Looking at 6 million sessions across a major media site, our data scientists analyzed reading behavior in relation to the number of goals completed by users. Within Decibel Insight, goals are triggered when a user completes a desirable action during their session. For the particular media website we looked at, goals are configured to trigger when users fill out a form, hit a call-to-action, or visit the paid subscription area of the website.

Our data scientists found that average user sessions completed 0.31 goals per session, while user sessions containing reading behavior completed an average of 0.98 goals.

Figure 2: The average number of goals completed by users per session on a major media site.


User sessions containing reading behavior complete significantly more goals than average

Figure 2 shows that user sessions containing reading behavior complete over three times as many goals as the average user. 


How is reading behavior used by digital teams?

Reading behavior is a very useful metric for measuring how your customers respond to different messaging, and for identifying what they immediately notice on the page.

One of our fashion clients, for example, has a reading behavior alert set up on any new product page they put live to judge the kind of content that captures user attention. Digital teams should look out for reading behaviors as key signposts to where users are engaged.


What other digital behaviors are users performing on your website and app? Stay tuned to this series to learn all about them - or, to discover them now, download the full report by hitting the banner below.

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Jack Maden

Written on June 28, 2017 by:

Jack Maden

Jack is Digital Manager at Decibel, the best digital experience intelligence platform around! He also runs philosophy break.


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