Study: Direct Visitors to News Sites Three Times More Engaged Than Others

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By Chris O'Shea Comment

According to a new Pew Research Center study, readers who come to news sites directly are three times more engaged than those who come via Facebook links or search.

Of the 26 most popular news sites — including nytimes.com, cnn.com, news.yahoo.com and more — direct visitors spend about 4 minutes and 36 seconds per visit. Meanwhile, visitors via Facebook spend only 1 minute and 41 seconds per visit and visitors via search spend about the same (1:42 per visit).

Direct visitors also view many 24.8 pages per month, compared to just 4.2 pages per month for Facebook and 4.9 for search.

The findings aren’t that surprising. After all, if you’re typing a news site’s URL into your browser or have it bookmarked, you’re already a fan of the brand, so you’re much more likely to stay there once you click through.

The Pew study also shows that while Facebook and search are important for news sites, it’s difficult to translate those clicks into dedicated readers.

[Image: Pew Research Center]