ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.0 –
Part 2: Visitor Attention and Web Page Exposure

ClickTale
December 4, 2007

In part 1 of our ClickTale Scrolling Report, we learned that visitors scroll in a relative way – relative position inside the page, not based on absolute position in terms of pixels. In other words, the same number of page viewers will tend to scroll halfway or three-quarters through a page, regardless of whether the page size is 5,000 pixels or 10,000 pixels. In part 2, we reveal more new findings: Read on to learn about the way visitors pay attention to content on your site and what areas on your site receive the most attention.

See the end of this posting for ideas on how to make all this info work for you.

Are Your Visitors Paying Attention?

Have you ever wondered how much attention your visitors pay to your website content? We all have, of course. But until recently, most of the evidence has been based on personal observation or random investigations rather than systematic scientific evaluation. To answer this question objectively, we have analyzed over 80,000 web page browsing sessions collected over a one month period.

We started by looking at what we’ve called Visitor Attention, defined as the average time that a visitor pays attention to a specific area on a web page while scrolling up and down.1 We only include periods of actual visitor activity: when they move the mouse, scroll, click or type – and not periods of inactivity when the visitor is busy browsing other websites or grabbing a cup of coffee. The graph below shows us how much time visitors paid attention to each section of different-sized web pages as they scrolled through them. ‘Absolute Scrolling Reach’ measures the distance from the page top (in pixels) that a visitor scrolls down the page.

tn Visitor Attention vs Absolute Scrolling Reach ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.0   <br />Part 2: Visitor Attention and Web Page Exposure

By studying Visitor Attention patterns we learn that:

  • Visitors’ Attention follows a similar pattern for pages of different heights. It peaks both near the page top, at 540 pixels, and near the bottom, about 500 pixels from the end of the page.
  • Excluding behavior effects at the page top and bottom, attention decreases exponentially as visitors scroll down the page.
  • The peak near the top may be explained by the fact that the area near the page top typically contains the logo and is the first to be scrolled out of view.
  • The bottom peak may be explained by visitors’ increased attention while making a decision about their next browsing move. Users may be pausing to make a decision from the typical plethora of links near the page bottom, (for example, someone searching for a ‘contact us’ button or the telephone number of the company) or by the fact that users simply stop their downward scroll when they hit the page end.
  • The graph illustrates that Visitor Attention is directly related to the absolute page length in pixels, not to the relative position inside the page.

How Much Exposure Does Your Page Get?

To answer this question, we define Page Exposure as the average time that a specific page area was “exposed” to all visitors2 (as opposed to the subset of visitors that looked at the specific page area). Again we only count periods of visitor activity. The graph below illustrates the average time period that a specifc page area is visible on the screen (“exposed”).

tn Page Exposure vs Absolute Scrolling Reach ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.0   <br />Part 2: Visitor Attention and Web Page Exposure

From this graph we learn that:

  • Page areas near the top of the page get about 17 times more exposure than the areas near the page bottom.
    • In fact, Page Exposure peaks at 24 seconds near the 540 pixel-line and dips to 1.4 seconds near the bottom.
  • Page Exposure patterns are remarkably similar across different page lengths.
    • They appear to decline in the form of a Power function (y=a*x^b , -1<b<0).
  • Page Exposure exhibits a small flat rise near the page bottom.
    • This is surprising because the the first graph shows that Visitor Attention near the bottom is much more significant.
    • Since Page Exposure of a specific page area is calculated based on the total number of page visits, the “flattened bump” in the second graph means that the high levels of attention are only experienced by a few visitors and are averaged down across all visitors.
    • This hypothesis is confirmed by the results from Part 1 of the ClickTale Scrolling Report. Below we reproduce the graph that shows that, regardless of page height, only 15% to 20% of page visitors reach the page bottom. (We measured visitor scrolling using a new metric called ‘Visibility’ which is defined as the fraction of page views that scroll to a specific location in the page.)

tn Visibility vs Absolute Scrolling Reach ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.0   <br />Part 2: Visitor Attention and Web Page Exposure

Some Important Observations

  • Below 540 pixels, both visitor attention and page exposure decline exponentially.
  • Below the 1,000 pixel-line, the number of visitors declines in a linear fashion vs. their relative page location.
    • See part 1 where we showed that Visibility = 57.6 – (0.409 x  Scrolling Reach) with an R-squared = 89.4%  which indicates that the linear model is a very good fit for the scrolling data.

Our Recommendations (i.e. what does this all mean to me?)

  • The most valuable web page real-estate is located near the page top, between 0 and 800 pixels. Visitor Attention and Page Exposure peak at about the 540 pixel-line.
  • If you have a long web page,  add “stop points” such as headers and images to prevent your visitors from quickly scrolling down the page. It will prevent their attention from waning towards the end of the page.
  • The footer of your page is important! Users do pay quite a bit of attention to that area of your page.
  • See how your specific pages behave with ClickTale Scrolling Heatmaps. icon wink ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.0   <br />Part 2: Visitor Attention and Web Page Exposure

Final Note

The graphs above were generated by averaging many different web pages and, hence, show “an average model” of a typical web page. Keep in mind, however, that each individual web page has its own reach and attention characteristics that depend on the type of content, the presence of images or headers and the type of visitors to the site.

To understand Visitor Reach and Attention of your own web pages, we invite you to sign up for ClickTale and try our Scrolling Heatmaps for yourself.

Footnotes:

  1. Visitor Attention is calculated by dividing the total time visitors spend looking at a specific page area by the number of visitors that viewed that area. 
  2. Page Exposure is calculated by dividing the total time visitors spend looking at a specific page area by the total number of visitors that have viewed the page. 

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31 Comments

  1. ClickTale Blog » ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.0 - Part 1: Visibility and Scroll Reach Says:
    December 4th, 2007 at 10:29 am

    [...] In part 2 of this report, we will discuss page view times and how visitors tend to distribute their attention over the web page. Watch out for some useful tips on where to place your most pertinent information and advertising. Subscribe to our blog RSS feed so you don’t miss part 2 or any other future reports. Continue to part 2! [...]

  2. Web Interaction Analytics Company ClickTale Announces Funding  »TechAddress Says:
    December 5th, 2007 at 7:33 am

    [...] their Scrolling Research Report V2.0 – Part 2: Visitor Attention and Web Page Exposure on the ClickTale Blog. There is a ton of data and information in the report but here are the net [...]

  3. ClickTale Blog » ClickTale Secures Venture Capital Funding from YL Ventures Says:
    December 5th, 2007 at 8:05 am

    [...] study, including supporting graphs and statistics, can be found in its entirety on ClickTale’s blog. Website owners can compare ClickTale’s findings with user behavior on their own sites by [...]

  4. Breaking News: Clicktale Raises an Undisclosed Round from YL Ventures | Venture Capital Cafe Says:
    December 5th, 2007 at 12:21 pm

    [...] study, including supporting graphs and statistics, can be found in its entirety on ClickTale’s blog. Website owners can compare ClickTale’s findings with user behavior on their own sites by [...]

  5. ClickTale secures VC funding from YL Ventures | 901am Says:
    December 10th, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    [...] The study, including supporting graphs and statistics, can be found in its entirety on ClickTale’s blog. [...]

  6. Record your users click trail | Frontiering Talk Says:
    December 10th, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    [...] has a useability study (part 1 and part 2) which discusses findings based on their tracking [...]

  7. gravigrav Says:
    December 19th, 2007 at 1:39 am

    Very interesting data. But how would you conclude this research information affect application websites, such as a banking site, and not only content websites?

  8. tal galili Says:
    February 2nd, 2008 at 4:56 am

    Fun conclusions,
    Thanks.

  9. Cyanto » Informazioni incomplete come invito allo scrolling di pagine web Says:
    July 14th, 2008 at 11:06 pm

    [...] Visitor attention and web page exposure [...]

  10. Idearium » Blog Archive » Web Design Hint: Scroll, not Fold. Says:
    August 22nd, 2008 at 8:50 am

    [...] basati su analisi effettuate a partire dal loro servizio di tracciamento (2006/12, 2007/10, 2007/12). Due invece sono del sito User Interface Engineering, che fa alcune osservazioni qualitative [...]

  11. Everybody scrolls? - scroll behaviour and webdesign Says:
    September 28th, 2008 at 4:44 am

    [...] and figures Last week, reading webanalisten.nl, I came across research (part 1, part 2 and part 3) from Clicktale about scrolling behaviour, scroll reach, visitor attention and location of the [...]

  12. The Scrolling User: Another Post on Another Blog about the Fold (Scroll Down to Read More) | Experience Planner Says:
    October 14th, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    [...] “ClickTale Scrolling Research Report V2.09 — Part 2: Visitor Attention and Web Page Expo… they answer the question: sure, users scroll and scroll and scroll … but what do they pay [...]

  13. Visitor Attention and Web Page Exposure | Candes | Cristian Neagu - UI Designer, Developer, Consultant Says:
    June 1st, 2009 at 6:44 am

    [...] the second part of ClickTale Scrolling Report, they analyze how much time visitors paid attention to each section of different-sized web pages [...]

  14. Ironing Out the Fold… Says:
    July 31st, 2009 at 11:14 am

    [...] time spent on different portions of the page. The results of that test can be looked at in detail here. The basic results are that people naturally spend more time at the top of the page. In fact the [...]

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  16. Los usuarios sí hacen scroll | Interacciones Says:
    December 14th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    [...] ClickTale: Scrolling Research Report V2.0 – parte 1 y parte 2 [...]

  17. Nyheder og kommentarer fra den danske mediebranche Says:
    December 21st, 2009 at 6:05 am

    [...] utal af undersøgelser (som fx ClickTale’s Scrolling Research Report V2.0 – Part 1 and Part 2 ), design metoder og teknologier, som gør teorien om ”the fold” [...]

  18. Initial Page Load – FE Performance Tuning – web technologist Says:
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:17 am

    [...] Source: http://blog.clicktale.com/2007/10/05/clicktale-scrolling-research-report-v20-part-1-visibility-and-s... [...]

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  20. Anonymous Says:
    July 7th, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    [...] [...]

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  22. A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Conversion | Shadowtek | Hosting and Design Solutions Says:
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  23. My Stream » A Beginner’s Guide to Successful Conversion Says:
    September 8th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    [...] heat maps makes it clear where users focus most of their attention on any given web page. This report from a couple of years ago highlights areas of attention on scrollable pages. Looking at the image [...]

  24. Above the Fold | The Shop Analyst Says:
    October 31st, 2011 at 4:36 am

    [...] bestätigt Nielsen eine Studie von ClickTale aus dem Jahre 2007, die ebenfalls einen deutlichen Peak in der Nutzer-Aufmerksamkeit und dem [...]

  25. Etienne Juneau Says:
    November 7th, 2011 at 1:30 am

    That’s very interesting.

    In direct mail, we know that the headline gets read more than any other piece of the copy.

    Now we have a specific figure for the Web: the top of the page gets 17x more attention than the rest of the website.

    Thanks for this helpful tidbit.

    Etienne

  26. Is your content below the fold being read? - The Brew by Visual Jazz Says:
    November 15th, 2011 at 12:57 am

    [...] http://blog.clicktale.com/2007/12/04/clicktale-scrolling-research-report-v20-part-2-visitor-attentio... [...]

  27. Above or below the fold: users don’t care! - The Brew by Visual Jazz Says:
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    [...] http://blog.clicktale.com/2007/12/04/clicktale-scrolling-research-report-v20-part-2-visitor-attentio... [...]

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