Improve Engagement and Pages Per Visit with new Related Content Section

Dec 7, 2016

Recent trends have decisively shown that more and more traffic comes in through the story page. We’re finding that your first interaction with a user is on your post page; it is important that to create an engaged audience, we must improve the user experience on the post pages.

We’ve already discussed how the social icons have changed in an effort to improve engagement. Now, we’re updating the related content section of the story page.

Currently, Core Publisher stations average approximately 2.6 page views per user per month. One way that NPR.org has found to improve this metric is by updating the related content section of NPR.org’s story pages to make the related content more prominent.

With this in mind, we have updated the related content section of the story page to emulate the river found on the homepage. The previous iteration of related content runs the risk of not engaging users effectively, since we’ve found in user testing that many people misconstrue them as sponsored links — such as those seen around the web from Taboola or Outbrain. Each story was made to look less like an advertisement by updating the CSS and including the author, publish date, and teaser text.

New Related Content Section

We anticipate that the following metrics will be improved with the introduction of this optimization:

  • Pages per Visit
  • Time on Site
  • Exit rate from post page
  • Potentially, a small increase in SEO traffic by having related content snippets crawlable on the post page, marginally increasing the SEO-friendliness of post pages

We look forward to hearing from you how this impacts your audience's behavior, and how your experimenting with user engagement on your own stories.