Eye tracking study yields surprising results for bloggers

Picture_5 The Poynter Institute wanted to take a scientific look at how people read news and if there was a difference when the news was presented in an online, tabloid or broadsheet format. 

It’s the largest study they’ve ever done and is the first time they’ve compared both print and online media.

The Institute just released the results of their EyeTrack07 study.

Here are some findings that will not be a surprise:

  • People are drawn to alternative story forms like Q&A’s, timelines, sidebars and lists
  • Photos get a lot of attention in print
  • Real photos got more attention than staged or studio photographs

Here’s the surprise:

The largest percentage of story text read was in the online format.

  • 77% online
  • 62% in broadsheet
  • 57% in tabloid

And…nearly two-thirds of online readers, once they selected an item to read, read ALL of the text.

Interestingly, the study was partially funded by mainstream print newspapers. You can download a teaser of the research results.  They’ll also be selling the full results in mid-April.

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7 comments on “Eye tracking study yields surprising results for bloggers

  1. Hmmmm. Good food for thought here. It makes you really think twice about grabbing those eyes and keepin’ ’em.

    I almost want to include a picture of eyes or something with this comment. Maybe it would make more people read it… to the very end.

    Thanks for the continued insight and wisdom Drew!

    You rock!

  2. Hey Drew…yep. Really does not surprise you does it? Variety from a large source of places really matters when reading the news. While newspapers are not yet a thing of the past…they are hurting and still trying to figure out how to exist in this new world. Nice post…thanks! Michael

  3. David Reich says:

    Interesting results. Especially the fact that online readers say they read the entire text.

  4. Poynter is now reassessing their original claim that online readers read more of each story. See http://neilsanderson.com/?p=276

  5. Mitch,

    It is fascinating to learn more about how we humans behave and what triggers our choices, isn’t it?

    Good food for thought indeed.

    Drew

  6. Micheal,

    I know that papers are trying to get their arms around the online versus print issue. And how do they provide value and still make a little?

    Tough questions. It will be interesting to see how they wrestle with them.

    Drew

  7. David — apparently they are now changing that story slightly. Check out Neil’s comment.

    And Neil…thanks for pointing to the updated info.

    Drew

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