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Where are the world’s most loyal readers? Hint: It’s not North America

August 20, 2019 | By Nick Lioudis, Content Manager—Chartbeat @Chartbeat

Publishers looking to understand how high reader engagement translates to long-term loyalty in 2019 should look no further than Northern Europe. For consecutive quarters this year, Northern European readers had the highest percentage of loyal pageviews compared to total pageviews, according to data compiled by Chartbeat. (A loyal reader is someone who returns to your site in at least 50% of days in a two-week period.)

We’ve documented how European publishers are experimenting with marketing to highly-engaged readers to take advantage of a short window to convert them to loyal subscribers.

However, the data shows that the Americas create more than enough engaging content that, by all accounts, should translate to higher loyalty figures. For example, readers in Latin America engaged with content for an average of 34.2 seconds, while those in North America engaged for 31 seconds.

What gives? Chartbeat’s second quarter international audience engagement insights indicate it could be emblematic of a broader industry trend: U.S. publishers finding it difficult to leverage strong reader engagement into revenue opportunities

More on global reader engagement data and trends from the past quarter below.

Africa and Asia drive mobile, social traffic

Mobile traffic has eclipsed desktop across the world, particularly in Africa*, where 77% of all pageviews are from mobile devices. This is closely followed by the Central Asia and Southeast Asia subregions, with 75% and 74% of pageviews coming from mobile, respectively.

Southeast Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East made up the greatest share in percent of all pageviews coming from social platforms, driven largely by their high use of Facebook.

By continent, the story remains largely the same as our subregion data. In Asia, 68% of pageviews in Asia come from mobile devices. This is followed by Europe and North America, where it is 61% and 60%, respectively.

Facebook dominates social referrals. The social giant drove over 4.5 billion pageviews for the past quarter. It’s trailed by Twitter, which was responsible for approximately 408 million referrals.

Asia leads referral traffic from search

Central Asia (28%) has the largest percentage of all pageviews coming from search engines, with China (26%) close behind.

Looking at search traffic across all Chartbeat publishers, Google leads by a wide margin at over 10.5 billion referrals this past quarter, according to Chartbeat data.

What this past quarter says about audience engagement

Our global audience engagement data gives publishers a snapshot into broader reader trends that supplement their long-term marketing strategies. Here’s a quick recap of the data:

Europe is loyal. Each of Europe’s subregions tracked by Chartbeat, led by Northern Europe, make up the globe’s most loyal readers. What does this mean? European paid readership models could be one of the first places to look as global publishers attempt to build revenue.

Africa and Asia are mobile (and social). This past quarter reminds us that content consumption via mobile devices is a global trend. Aggregators such as Google Chrome Suggestions and Flipboard are still serving as influential external referral sources. Shore up your mobile experience if you haven’t already done so. The high social referrals in these continents should also prompt publishers to identify regions that are driving social traffic. They should also evaluate whether they’re offering the right content to best engage these audiences.

The Americas are engaged. Readers in Latin America and North America are highly engaged with content. However, they fall on the lower end of the loyalty spectrum compared to the rest of the world. How publishers in the Americas bridge that gap will be key to their goals of unlocking more subscriptions revenue.

*Chartbeat’s dataset in Africa is not broken out by subregion to maintain data integrity
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