Blog post

Global Reader Behavior Insights 2022

It’s probably not a surprise that culture and location play a large role in user behavior, but do you know what differences to expect per region? And what does this mean for user behavior trends? Or for the news you publish and the way readers will consume them?

Froomle has done the hard work for you and gathered data from different news publishers in four main regions and analyzed the current trends to see what they mean for you. The comparison covers: Africa, Central America, northern Europe, and southern Europe.

1. Most recommended topics

Let’s start by looking at the topics most recommended by the Froomle recommender system. Topic refers to a news section or category which are manually aligned across different customers.

Top 3 Recommendations in Africa, Central America, Northern Europe and Southern Europe

Unsurprisingly, articles from the “News” category are ranked top in Africa, Central America, and southern Europe. However, it’s interesting to see that regional content is often preferred by our recommender system, strengthening the role of regional stories for news publishers. One other important result pops out: “Health” is in the third position in Central America, reminding us of the international coverage of Covid-19.

2. Most read topics

It’s interesting to compare the articles that received the most clicks with the articles that were recommended. The results were consistent with the first section, except for “Politics” in Central America which is the third most read section while only being the 5th most recommended. One possible explanation is the high visibility of this type of content on the homepage, leading to more natural clicks, compared to recommendations that help surface content that would otherwise be invisible.

Top 3 clicked topics

3. Higher CTR

How well do our recommendations perform? One way to measure this is to divide the clicks on a recommendation by the total number of recommendations (the click-through rate/CTR). One of the main mission of personalization software is to maximize the CTR for every category, regardless of its number of articles. In other words, articles talking about “Opera” would only be recommended to a targeted audience and should get a high CTR, just as a regular news article presented to a wider group of people.

Top 3 engaged topics

The results show a clear difference with the most popular recommended topics or most read articles. Categories like “Sport”, “Health”, and “Celebrities” get a high CTR as they have very targeted audiences. Unsurprisingly, “News” and “National” categories have a lower CTR score, probably due to the wide range of stories that they cover.


4. Reading times

Each region has clear reading habits. In Europe, readers are active at 7-8am when they wake up, at lunchtime, and after work. Even within Europe there are some cultural differences, with north Europeans taking their lunch break at noon sharp and southern Europeans stopping at 1-2pm.

News consumption in Africa and Central America is smoother through the day, with more readers at night. However, there is a clear decrease for all regions after 9pm as readers disconnect from their devices and enjoy some leisure time.

Reading times in 3 continents

5. Mobile vs. desktop

How do readers in different regions interact with your digital channels? This varies greatly from region to region, with northern Europeans consuming their news 80% of the time on their laptops, in contrast to 75% of news consumption in southern Europe taking place on mobile devices. Central Americans sit in the middle, with an almost perfect 50-50 split between desktop and mobile.

Percentage of users on website vs mobile web

It is important to note that these figures do not include reading behavior from apps (if available), which means the share of mobile news consumption has been underestimated in countries where news apps are common.

6. Traffic sources

In Europe, social media remains the largest source of traffic. However, organic search is a close second (23.7% compared to 24.1% for social), followed by email newsletters and push. As social media is expected to decrease, email newsletters and push remain important levers to bring people back to your news site.

5 main traffic sources in Europe

News and media insights in your region

Do you want to know more about our insights into your region and what it means for news consumption and readership? Would you like to start a free trial of Froomle’s recommender system to see the difference it can make for your audience? Contact Froomle’s personalization experts to learn more.

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