Revealing Digital Behaviors #4: Scroll Engagement

Jack Maden
Written by Jack Maden
July 12, 2017

This is the fourth post in a series in which we introduce the digital behaviors picked out in our report, Revealing Digital Behavior: Applying Data Science to 2.2 Billion User Sessions. Just as someone shouting in a shop is evidence of a poor customer experience in-store – and someone smiling a good one – certain digital body language indicates the equivalent online.

The first post discussed multiclick behavior, the second looked at reading behavior, while the third outlined bird’s nest behavior. This article looks at scroll engagement behavior and what it means in relation to customer experience.


What is scroll engagement behavior? Users scroll down in a smooth, regular rhythm

Which device? Desktop, Tablet, Mobile

What does it mean? Engagement

How do teams utilize it? To inform content strategy, and for compliance purposes

Scroll engagement behavior refers to when a user scrolls down the page in a smooth, regular rhythm, which typically signifies the consumption of content.

This is an especially familiar behavior for those of us who read articles on our mobile phones on public transport, thumbs raking screens. Our data scientists found that it is a common behavior across all devices, and signifies positive user engagement.

Looking at 6 million sessions across a major media site, our data scientists analyzed scroll engagement in relation to the number of goals completed by users. Within Decibel Insight, goals are triggered when a user completes a desirable action during their session. For the particular media website we looked at, goals are configured to trigger when users fill out a form, hit a call-to-action, or visit the paid subscription area of the website.

Our data scientists found that user sessions containing scroll engagement behavior completed an average of 1.01 goals. Average user sessions, by contrast, completed just 0.31 goals.

Figure 4: The average number of goals completed by users per session on a major media site.

User sessions containing scroll engagement behavior complete significantly more goals than average

Figure 4 shows that user sessions containing scroll engagement behavior complete over three times as many goals as the average user.

How is scroll engagement behavior used by digital teams?

Scroll engagement is an important new metric for measuring how people are engaging with your content. A publishing client, for example, no longer measures the success of articles based only on how many hits or shares they’ve received, but also on the amount of scroll engagement and scroll depth each article has achieved – which demonstrates how much of the content has actually been read.

A session replay showing scroll engagement behavior on a mobile device

Scroll engagement is also a useful metric for compliance purposes. A client in financial services, for instance, uses scroll engagement and depth to ensure its customers are fully aware of and have consumed its regulatory compliance requirements.


What other digital behaviors are users performing on your website and app? Stay tuned to this series to learn all about them – or, to discover them now, download the full report by hitting the banner below.

Topics: Behavior, Customer Experience, User experience
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