Smartphones – New Survey Reports People Spend More Time Reading Long Articles in Mobile Devices

Published: 6 May 2016Updated: 10 May 2016

There are developers who are fretting over the fact that smartphones, along with their small screens, have a negative impact on big news stories. However, this may not be the case as a new survey from the Pew Research Center shows that, surprisingly, those who are reading long articles on mobile devices do actually spend more time reading longer articles than using mobile phones to read shorter ones.

Smartphones - New Survey Reports People Spend More Time Reading Long Articles in Mobile Devices

Survey Tells People Spend More Time on Reading Longer Articles on Smartphones

As the aforementioned survey reports, people reading on smartphones tend to spend more time engaging on stories that have are longer than 1,000 words than what people usually do with shorter stories. This is according to the study that has been done with the proponents and data analysis firm For references sake, 1,000 words is approximately 30-inches of newspaper columns. For long stories, they roughly get the same number of visitors as pages with shorter stories.

According to the study, individuals are seen to spend about twice as long scrolling, tapping, and clicking on stories that are found to be 1,000 words or longer. It was recorded that an average of 123-seconds when reading longer stories as compared to just 57.1-seconds on shorter stories that are between 101 and 999 words. Furthermore, the time spent that is actively reading an article does grow incrementally with the length of the article.

Amy Mitchell, director of journalism research over at Pew Research Center, said the following in a statement: “These findings suggest that on small, phone-sized screens the public does not automatically turn away from an article at a certain point in time — or reject digging into a longer-length news article. Instead, the average user tends to stay engaged past the point of where short-form reading would end, suggesting that readers may be willing to commit more time to a longer piece of work.”

However, the study does not disclose the effect of recent mobile applications such as Facebook Instant Articles, in which it hosts content within the social media platform. Furthermore, the study only looks into articles that are hosted on news sites. It does not also examine whether or not the articles have graphics or videos but only text.

Researchers for this particular study about reading articles on smartphones state that although it is not fully representative of all corners of the media, they did take pains into looking at an array of types of news websites. It has been said that they looked into 30 publications, which were described as “U.S.-based, non-local sites that produce original political or general interest news content.”


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