Oh, how I wish this was a cool YouTube video that could go viral. But it’s not. Instead, it’s some pretty interesting research by PostRank on how reader engagement in blogging has evolved over the last three years.
Not so surprisingly, trackbacks as a means of joining the conversation have dropped off in favor of taking the discussion to Twitter or other social sites. Over the last there years, trackbacks have dropped from 19% of total engagement to 3%, while social networks have soared from <1% to 29%.
This is indicative of the larger trend—the move to engagement off the site itself:
On-site engagement is down 50%, but total engagement engagement is still high—the conversation has just moved onto Facebook, Twitter and other social networks because of the “Share this” phenomenon.
Finally, the study also found that posts have a longer lifespan of engagement, due largely to the fact that engagement in the first hour has decreased:
Back in 2007, we observed that over 94% of all the engagement occurred within the first day of publishing the article. Even more interestingly, the 98% of the engagement on that first day occurred within the first hour. In other words, the half-life of a story was, and still is, less than an hour!
Fast forward to 2008 and 2009, and we’re seeing a steady increase in the lifespan of a story: down to 83% of total engagement for the first hour in 2008, and 64% in 2009.
While the majority of engagement still takes place in the first hour, the engagement is also more spread out today—because more and more people are discovering the post later, thanks to the social sharing options that have become so popular.
What do you think? Have you seen this phenomenon in your blogging and sharing?