What we did

  • Collected 5 months of readership data
  • Aggregated statistics across 150+ sponsored stories
  • Analyzed page views, unique visitors, reader location, reader's device, and scrolling behavior

What we discovered

  • Readers spent 3.7 minutes reading inspirational stories
  • 1 in 3 readers read through at least half of a sponsored story regardless of the story content
  • 5% of readers from the UK scroll to the very bottom of inspirational stories compared with 2% of readers from the U.S.

About Cooperatize

Cooperatize is a native advertising platform for sponsored content on thousands of publishers. Using the Cooperatize platform, brand managers can reach their target audience by finding relevant publishers, get sponsored posts written, and track the performance of their stories. All sponsored posts integrate the brands seamlessly and abide by all FTC guidelines.

For more information, visit http://www.cooperatize.com

Reader Behavior On Native Ads And Sponsored Stories


How do readers scroll through stories that are sponsored by brands? What type of stories receive the most engagement and why? (see infographic at bottom of page for summary)

We did a little experiment to see if there are any correlations between reader location, scroll time, and story completion on sponsored stories. Measuring native advertising is crucial to understanding how your audience engages with your content. We aim to show you the results that matter for your native advertising investments. Read on to see our insights

cooperatize audience

What types of analytics does Cooperatize track on sponsored posts?

Cooperatize facilitates the publishing of sponsored posts on thousands of blogs. In order to help marketers and digital agencies discover the audience and reach of their sponsored posts, Cooperatize uses proprietary technology to discover who is reading a sponsored story and how long that reader is engaging with the story.

Here is an overview of the type of analytics Cooperatize is able to collect from sponsored posts:

cooperatize analytics

What The Analytics Mean

Most platforms are able to show metrics around page views, unique visitors, and clicks. Our analytics take it one step further by introducing the notion of dwell time.

With Scroll Time and Scroll Speed, you will be able to see how long it takes for an individual reader to scroll through half a story versus the entire story. By segmenting the time it takes to read a story, you can further discover how many readers are “skimmers” relative to those whom read every paragraph in the story.

Combined with detailed dimensions about the city or country of the individual reader, you can learn about the type of stories that work well with certain cultures and audiences. This knowledge is imperative when developing your brand’s content strategy.

What We Did

We conducted an experiment to see if Scroll Time and Scroll Speed correlate with different types of sponsored stories published on a variety of blogs.

For a period of 5 months (June-October 2014), we tracked over 150+ sponsored stories and 175K scrolling actions on the Cooperatize platform.

What did we learn about engagement and reading time?

For starters, the type of story definitely impacts the average time it takes for someone to read a 500-word story. We classified the stories into three broad categories: Inspiration, Intent, and Purchase. If we take travel stories as an example, an “Inspiration” story will talk about great places to go backpacking such as Australia. An “Intent” story focuses on the hostels and sites to visit in Australia, and a “Purchase” story recommends the best tools to book your travel.

People love reading inspirational stories, and the data proves it.

Readers, on average, spent 3.7 minutes reading “Inspiration” stories, 2.9 minutes reading “Intent” stories, and only 1.1 minutes on “Purchase” stories.

What type of insights did we gain from readers’ scrolling behavior?

We discovered that people spent 1.63 minutes just looking at the blog or website when they first open it in their browser before scrolling. Once they started scrolling, 1 out of 3 people scrolled halfway through the stories across all types. However, only 4% of people make it to the very bottom of the page.

The average reading speed for an adult is 300 words per minute, which means a 500-word blog post should garner around 1.7 minutes of reading time.

Our research shows that readers spend 250% more time reading sponsored stories across certain verticals such as Finance, Culture, and Fashion based on the scrolling speed of readers in this experiment.

What kind of patterns did we discover about the reader’s location?

Taiwanese and Australians were the two countries with the highest number of readers scrolling at least halfway through stories (>50%). Taiwan and France were the two countries with the most readers scrolling through the entire story including the comments (~9%).

At the state-level, readers from New York, Nebraska, and New Mexico engaged with the stories the most, spending more than 2 minutes to read at least half of the stories.

cooperatize engagement case study