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Before you can understand how to reach users online, you need to understand how they engage with content.

That includes understanding what devices they use to go online, how they discover content, and how they interact with content once they find it.

CodeFuel is a data-rich resource for helping you understand consumer behavior and accessing the tools you need to reach your audience. One of our best resources is a research-heavy ebook that we recently published exploring how users behave online.

Here are some of the findings that research reveals about content consumption:

Time Spent Online

Time Spent Online

CodeFuel looked closely at how users spend their time online.

What sites are they visiting? How are they finding the content they want?

What we found – which may not be surprising to many – is that Google is the number one source for finding content. More than a third of users prefer to find content through Google, which makes the search giant their first stop when trying to find new information.

However, what you may be surprised to learn is the method that comes in second place. No, it’s not social media and it’s not content aggregators. Instead, the second most popular way for people to find content is through other content websites.

Approximately 26 percent of users discover new content through their favorite content websites. They may find that content through recommendation tools (such as CodeFuel’s own In-tag), or they may find it through external links, search boxes on the site, or even recommendations in the comments section.

This data reveals that marketers are rightly spending a lot of resources on their SEO, but also that they should be spending more resources investing in placement and mentions on other content sites.

Main Motives

So what makes people visit content websites at any given point during the day?

Is it because they really like the site? Or are they looking for specific information?

Main Motives

Our research found that 43 percent of users browse content websites in the afternoon just to take a break. Think about how you feel during the after-lunch slog at work and what you do – you likely go online to check in on social media or to catch up on your favorite blogs.

The majority of people – 73 percent – said that they check out content websites in the morning in order to get the latest updates. This makes sense especially if you are looking at sites related to your profession. Before you get started with your work for the day, you want to find out what’s new and relevant to the work you are doing. Average users are also likely to check out the news of the day in regards to politics, celebrity gossip and more.

A large amount – 54 percent – said they return to their favorite websites in the evening for updates again. So much can happen in the daily news cycle that one check-in a day just isn’t enough.

The largest amount of people – 15 percent – said they go online in the afternoon for work or study.

Understanding how people use content at different points of the day helps you understand how to develop your content schedule for maximum impact. You can also leverage social media to recycle old content at the appropriate times.

Content Website

Now that you have all this information, it is important that you understand how users define a content website.

Content Website

Our research defined a content website as one that is popular and rich in content. Some prominent examples include news sites like CNN and The Huffington Post, as well as more technically oriented sites like Wired or TechCrunch.

The majority of visitors to these content websites were the younger generations – X, Y and Z – representing ages 18 to 49. Only about 20 percent of visitors were from the Baby Boomer generation (representing ages 50 to 64).

The majority of visitors – approximately 42 percent – only spend about an hour a day on these sites. Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation (those 65 and older) represented the majority of light users.

About 32 percent of users spent two hours a day on these sites, with the majority of these “medium users” including generations X, Y and Z.

Only about 26 percent of users were considered “heavy users” who spent three or more hours a day on these sites.

It is important that you take into consideration all of these findings when you are designing your content strategy.

For example, if you are trying to reach younger audiences, you might include a lot of articles that appeal to them in your content recommendation engine, whereas if you are trying to reach older users, you might include shorter articles that are easier to skim.

Explore the ebook to read about more findings that can help you get more out of your overall marketing strategy and reach more users.