Facebook is in trouble despite what you read about “time spent” on the social site. It seems that more, and in depth, research is indicating that users aren’t reading the content they are sharing. They read headlines and skim content and then share it if it looks like something that aligns with their beliefs or that they feel their followers would be interested in.
A study found that “[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]on the average Web page, users have time to read at most 28% of the words during an average visit; 20% is more likely.”[/inlinetweet] Among other things, the authors found that [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]the Back button is now only the 3rd most-used feature on the Web[/inlinetweet]. Clicking hypertext links remains the most-used feature, but clicking buttons (on the page) has now overtaken Back to become the second-most used feature. The reason for this change is the increased prevalence of applications and feature-rich Web pages that require users to click page buttons to access their functionality.
The study also found a direct correlation between the length of content and users clicking off the page: the longer the content the higher the chance it won’t be read.
So what does this have to do with facebook? I just received a preliminary study that is embargoed that shows that over 80% of people who share posts on their facebook feeds don’t read them or only partially read them. Have a story about Trump lying? No need to read the details, just share it with your facebook followers.
What can content providers do?
1ne: Add a summary/key point box net to content that visitors can read very quickly.
2wo: Keep content short and to the point.
3hree: Hire editors who understand how to edit “fluff” content.
4our: Don’t fall into the hype around content marketing and native advertising.
Time is the new currency. The reason facebook consumes so much online time is that users facebook feeds become a quick summary of news and information they want to follow. It has become, in essence, a multimedia RSS feed. In my opinion it’s only a matter of time before someone else develops a better site.