It’s more effective to encourage readers to view more pages than to try to attract more readers.
A reader that views multiple pages gives you more data about their habits, they are more engaged with your brand, and they appear to trust your content. This makes these readers valuable prizes for advertisers. Encouraging recirculation also costs less than acquisition for publishers. The Harvard Business Review puts it as, ‘anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing patron.’
There are many factors that will influence your bounce and recirculation rates. Page speed, content topic, and content quality are all going to be primary factors in your readers’ decisions. But today, we’re looking a little deeper. We’re delving past these baselines to identify UI/UX cues, tested and used by Marfeel. These seemingly small changes nudge recirculation rates even higher for publishers already optimizing their sites and content.
We’ve researched and developed five strategies that increase recirculation through subtle changes to the user experience. These strategies are the results of the experiments that maximized the time spent on the page without making the experience obtuse or frustrating for the reader.
Let’s explore the UI/UX elements that can improve recirculation:
1. Adapt your layouts for deep-linked readers
Users clicking a link directly to an article are generally difficult to recirculate because they targetted specific content in their search. This creates a challenge for publishers where they have to walk a line between offering the information the reader came for and encouraging new content for recirculation.
Deeplinked readers don’t want to attempt to navigate through the homepage on the off-chance they will find more content that interests them.
To keep deep-linked readers on the site, the Marfeel solution displays the header when an article is accessed through a deep link. This gives the reader access to easily clickable content, of a similar style that can be accessed in a single click. As soon as the user scrolls back up the page, the sections indicator snaps back into place to further promote recirculation.
In this example you can see how the header is initially visiable. As the reader starts to scroll down the article, it falls away and a simple footer navigation appears. If the user scrolls back up, the section indicator re-appears.
This creates a content-to-content style that doesn’t force the user to face the navigation work of the site. Regular users of your site may want to see a full category or return to the homepage. Deeplinked users are more likely to need further demonstrations that your content is valuable to them.
2. Use swipe-away content
Swiping has become the core of smartphone navigational language. However, readers need semantic cues that demonstrate where swipe navigation is possible. It varies across devices and applications and can result in effectively closing the page.
To encourage swiping, we implemented a thin, semi-transparent set of bullet points at the top of the interface. These bullets indicate that this content can be swiped away to reveal an alternative article.
This UI feature is a learned behavior that is consistent across Android and IOS. The cue signifies that swiping is possible but also serves to intrigue the reader with the prospect of the next article being instantly accessible.
Recirculation relies on giving readers the simplest path to other content they will find relevant. Peel back the layers of navigation to give the reader instant gratification of new content.
3. Let the content, not the menus draw the reader in
The next recirculation tactic publishers can use to keep readers on their pages is to offer ‘previews’ of the next articles in the same section. One example of this technique is to use sets of sliding tiles with the articles from the previous and next sections. Using the headline and an image, overlayed on a clickable tile gives the reader all the information they require to click.
This presents a binary decision. Click, or don’t. It doesn’t overload the reader with a set of menus that causes decision fatigue, an ultimately, a higher bounce rate.
Exposing more options to consume further content contributes to the recirculation of users and keeps them engaged with the page for longer.
4. Utilize strategic placement points for new content
If your reader realizes that an article doesn’t contain the information they need, or they lose interest, there is no motivation to continue to the bottom of the page. The natural reaction is to exit the page. This creates a crossroads in the middle of the article where a user can continue, hoping to renavigate at the bottom of the page or exit.
By adding more options for the users to interact with and consume more content at this point of no return, gives the user a third option.
The rationale behind its placement within the article itself is to target the users that don’t scroll through the entire length of the article and reach the other recirculation efforts – like the next article and next section previews – that Marfeel has in place.
Having related articles placed inline gives readers alternative content at a key exit cue.
5. Give readers access to the next sections.
To bolster recirculation to its fullest, the next sections indicator for a smartphone is displayed at the bottom of the sections mosaic. This feature encourages users that consume an entire section to navigate to further sections, registering more page views and impressions.
Recirculation rates and recirculation depth are effective ways for publishers to increase ARPU without increasing content creation or acquisition spend. To learn more about increasing engagement from your traffic, click here to see other strategies for higher traffic and engagement.