Why Loyal Readers Are About Three Times More Valuable To News Sites Than Social Or Search Readers [CHARTS]

By @lisamahapatra on
Artist Sep Kamvar looks at an image which includes the likeness of President-elect Barack Obama which was pulled from a recently published online blog posting as a part of his cinematic art installation "We Feel Fine," on display in the "New Frontier on Main" exhibition during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on Jan. 15, 2009. Reuters/Danny Moloshok

Readers of news sites who type in the URL or click on a bookmarked link tend to spend a lot more time on that site that those who came by the site via Facebook or search, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

The Pew study analyzed ComScore data for 26 of the most popular news websites and looked at how differently direct, social and search readers tended to behave.

Direct readers spent about three times as much time as social or search readers and clicked on five times as many pages and tend to visit three times more often.

This trend held true across all the sites surveyed, from Brietbart.com, which sees high social traffic, to ABCnews.com, which has a large search audience, said the study.

Here’s exactly how much more engaged direct readers are, when compared to social or search readers:

NEWS PATHWAYS-01 Direct readers of news sites are much more engaged than social or search readers.  IBTimes/Lisa Mahapatra

While it true that direct readers are more engaged with news sites than social or search readers, the amount of engagement varied quite a bit across different news sites, according to the study.

Loyal NYTimes.com readers tended to spend more than 9 minutes during each visit, while loyal CNN.com readers only spent a minute and half for each visit.

Foxnews.com readers tended to visit the site more often than NPR.org readers.

Here’s a chart that looks at how user engagement among direct readers for a select group of news sites:

NEWS PATHWAYS2-01 How loyal readers differ from site to site.  IBTimes/Lisa Mahapatra

Join the Discussion