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How to engage users in feeds

April 20, 2015

Understanding how to engage users in feeds (or not) is a key way of honing your content marketing to get found online.

Content distribution platform Starethrough recently published the results of research into how users interact with mobile native advertising. Increasingly, mobile websites – including all of the Top 10 mobile websites by traffic – use a feed-based design.

The US study incorporated eye tracking and more to assess users’ visual focus. The results show the importance of content, topics and headlines in standing out.

Banner content doesn’t stand-out

At first glance you might expect banner adds – visual and colourful – to stand-out in text-based feeds. However, humans are highly-skilled at a subconscious level when it comes to filtering-out advertising messages. Native ads (ie. those that looked like the rest of the feed) received twice as much attention as banner ads in feeds. This was the case both on mobile and desktop studies.

Users are hungry for content

The other key take-out was that native ads were actually being read. The eye tracking studies found that even within native ads – it was the text, more than the images, that were receiving attention.

This is a resounding endorsement of content marketing approaches. In order to stand out, you need to find interesting stories and headlines for your target users. In fact, the study also found that longer headlines delivered higher levels of engagement.

Find out more about the study and results on Starethrough’s website.

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