3 Reasons Why Article Completion Rate is Important

By Alexandra Eremia

08 July 2020

Why do you publish blog posts and articles? In most cases it’s to showcase your industry leadership, to share your knowledge, and hopefully drive sales be it through newsletter subscribers or direct sales.

With your analytics system you can tell the number of pageviews each article has. What about how many people finished reading your article? Perhaps you use time on site and bounce rate as a proxy for that. But do you really know how many people finished reading the article you and your team spent hours writing, editing, and researching?

In this article we outline what article completion rate is, why it’s important, and how to increase it.

What is article completion rate?

Article completion rate is the percentage of people that finished reading the article (down to the last sentence) divided by all the people that landed on that page.

For text based articles this is straightforward to calculate though for most sites the metric may be a little discouraging.

Let’s say that two thirds of your pageviews result in only the first paragraph being skimmed while the remaining third of pageviews read the entire article (again, including the last sentence) the article completion rate would be 33%. :(

For audio articles it is equally straightforward to calculate as the % of listeners that finished listening to the end of the audio article.

Why is article completion rate important?

Your content resonates with your audience

The hallmark of an article that resonates with your audience is one that is read and re-read over and over again. Kind of like a good book. A great article is one which people treat as a reference, and return to it as a proof point of what they are working on. This won’t happen with articles you’ve barely skimmed the first paragraph before bouncing. To have content resonate your audience needs to have first consumed the content which is where article completion comes in. The higher your article completion the more likely your content is resonating with your audience.

High completion rate drives time on site

Like bounce rate, time on site also goes hand in hand with article completion rate. If your typical post is about 1000 words long it would take the average reader 4 minutes to read. If all your visitors read to the end of your article you can expect the time on site to be longer than if only a fraction of pageviews finished the article.

The sole exception for this is if your blog posts and articles are the length of tweets. In which case we’re afraid to know what your blog SEO looks like. Invest some time in creating longer content. It’s worth it.

Audio articles have high completion rates

With dwindling attention spans there are a few ways to increase your article completion rate and ensure that the time invested in your content is getting full returns.

Audio content

Allowing your audience to consume the content through audio increases completion rates. In a recent study we’ve found that Heroku’s article completion rate increased to 89% for folks that listened to their blog posts. A few other publishing partners including Convince & Convert and KevinMD had slighting bigger increases. Qualitative evidence conducted through surveys suggests that audio listeners are more likely to finish the article because they are able to leave the article playing in the background while they return to other tasks.

If you’re ready to start increasing audio completion rate check out our audio article player at BingeWith