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Summary:

Mail Online’s celeb gossip and Independent.co.uk’s news-‘n-views are drawing more readers for longer visits than any other UK national newsp…

Mail Online’s celeb gossip and Independent.co.uk’s news-‘n-views are drawing more readers for longer visits than any other UK national newspaper website.

Though most of the newspapers’ worldwide readers come via one-off search results (as we reported Monday), when you strip out readers who only stay for one page view, you can see which sites are proving stickiest…

In total, Independent.co.uk readers hang around for longest, but Mail Online readers are more likely to stay for upwards of 10 minutes. This data is from the Newspaper Marketing Agency’s April online analytics.

But factoring the one-page readers back in makes clear that nearly two thirds of domestic UK newspaper website readers are still just hopping in to individual stories…

But Associated Newspapers executives in April told investors half of Mail Online’s traffic is direct hits – outperforming the above market. The site will eschew charging online because, they said, it “is now big enough to make the advertising model pay”.

Mail Online extended its lead amongst the pack in May by amassing 42.3 million monthly or 2.39 million daily unique browsers (figs: ABCe).

  1. Would be interesting to see this data with local newspapers (Belfast Telegraph, Manchester Evening News, etc) included.

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  2. “In total, Independent.co.uk readers hang around for longest, but Mail Online readers are more likely to stay for upwards of 10 minutes.”

    Great care must be taken with data like this produced from web-servers, as all is not as it seems, especially the “dwell” time.

    I do hope everyone realises that these figures do not portray the actual time spent viewing pages, but the length of time there was an open keep-alive connection between the browser and the web-server and how may requests were made for pages during that period and the time in between those requests.

    As all web-pages are downloaded into the users computer and viewed from there it is not possible for anyone except the person looking at the web-page, to actually know the length of time a page is viewed for.

    Not splitting hairs, but we never actually “visit” a web-site, instead our browser gives it a call and asks it to send it a copy of the page we’ve asked. If the web-server has that page, it replies yes “OK”, literally, and sends it through the Internet into our computer. The web comes to us, not the other way around.

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  3. @Terry – there are tools that will tell you exactly how long visitors view a webpage (usually via a JavaScript app) or at least give you a darn close approximation, as most readers will move the move as they read through an article and that can be tracked. Clicktracks is a good example.

    But yes, the figures mentioned above are approximations, but better an approximation than nothing at all.

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  4. Terry Purvis Thursday, July 1, 2010

    @Barry, sorry but there aren’t any tools as you suggest that can tell you exactly how long somebody has spent looking at a web-page. As I create and maintain dynamic/interactive websites, I do have some experience in the field.

    Javascript is a client-side scripting tool and the only way it can communicate with the web-server is via something like AJAX, or by setting cookies when the page is loaded. Even so it still cannot come up with what you call a “darn close approximation”.

    The methods of tracking you suggest are just as inaccurate, terribly inaccurate in fact and should never be used in a meaningful sense.

    The figures in this report are a thumb-suck pure and simple and should never be used in this context. And there’s nothing in this report that cautions on the accuracy of the figures at all.

    At the moment I’ve had another web-page loaded in my browser in another tab now for about 10 minutes, according to all the methodology available that means I’ve been “viewing” this page for that length of time, but in fact I haven’t even looked at it yet.

    The only way you can really know how long someone has spent reading a page is to stand behind them with a stop-watch. Sorry but that’s the fact of the matter.

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  5. @Terry, sure, ymmv and all that jazz, but if you genuinely “create and maintain dynamic/interactive websites” as you say, you’re doing yourself and your clients a disservice by dismissing this sort of tracking out of hand. As I said, I recommend you check out tools such as Clicktale and Crazyegg before you judge the value and validity of the data they present. Who knows, you might actually be pleasantly surprised. The web has come a long way since static HTML, after all.

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  6. Terry Purvis Thursday, July 1, 2010

    Please Barry don’t try and knock my credibility. Oh yes I do create dynamic websites as I claim and I’ve 11 years experience in building systems with LAMP. How can I be doing my clients a disservice when I tell them the truth? In fact I always demystify the web for my clients and it always comes as something of a revelation for them.

    Yes I know about Clicktale and Crazy Egg, and it’s one step removed from fairy stories. Pleasantly surprised? No. Amused. Yes the web has come a long way since static HTML pages, but then so has the bullsh*t that’s spun about it.

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