Understanding how users behave online is key to creating a marketing strategy that gets results.

If you don’t understand how your audience behaves, how will you know where to post your ads? Or what kind of content to create? Or what kind of SEO strategy to adopt?

You can hire a company to perform extensive audience research for you, or you can commit your own time and resources to doing it yourself. CodeFuel has made it a little easier for you by conducting the research on your behalf.

Here’s what our extensive online user behavior study revealed:

 Content Discovery

No surprise: Google is the top way that people find content.

They go to Google to put in search terms for exactly what they want. They might type in a specific question, or they might put in more general terms to get broader information about a topic.

What may surprise you is that the second most popular way that users get content is through content websites. These are sites like CNN, Wired, Huffington Post and more.

This makes sense when you think about how you find content yourself. You wouldn’t do a Google search for an interesting think piece or article about a subject you don’t even know, but if you see it linked or recommended on another site you trust, you might be interested enough to follow through and learn more.

Use the right content discovery tools to make sure your content is getting in front of the right audience and your brand is getting maximum reach.

Content Consumption

Once users are on your site, what do they do? How do they navigate the content presented?

Our research found that 73 percent of users said they browse websites in the morning to get the latest updates. They are settling down with their cup of coffee and logging on first thing in the morning, and they want to find out what might have happened during the night or in the early morning hours.

Approximately 43 percent of users say they browse content in the afternoon because they want to take a break. You likely have these slumps in your own day – when you are working but your productivity is failing because your concentration is waning. Instead, you go online to see what’s new and maybe to check your social networks.

Knowing this and other content consumption habits can help you plan the type of content you want to publish at different times of the day. You can conduct more research to find out what days of the week your particular audience is most active, as well.


You may already know that video should be an important part of your online marketing strategy, but you may not realize just how important it is.

CodeFuel’s research found that more and more people are watching video, and it is a very important tool for marketers. Users like to watch videos on all platforms, including personal computers and mobile devices. Therefore, it is important that you create video with all formats in mind.

We also found that users prefer certain types of content to be in video format. For example, 39 percent of people said they prefer to get entertainment content as video, and 31 percent said they prefer tech content as video. In contrast, 70 percent said they like to get their news in the written format.

Video consumption also broke down on gender lines. Women prefer to watch videos on cooking, fashion and style, while men like to watch videos on cars, sports and technology.

Ad Consumption

Many people are now using tools to actively avoid seeing ads.

They have become so used to ads that these promotions are seen as nuisances rather than helpful pitches.

However, our research showed that certain ads and strategies can attract attention.

For example, 43 percent of respondents told us that they would watch all of a video ad so long as it had interesting content. Additionally, 39 percent of people said that they would click through on an ad so long as it had a compelling offer.

Users are not even wary of ad-supported content. Approximately 79 percent of people said they prefer to access free content that is supported by ads. They are more willing to sit through ads than they are to pay for the content they want.

Your users are primed to view and interact with your ads. You just need to use the right strategies to get through.

Understanding how people behave online can help you create the strategies that will get results. With the right strategies, you can reach more of your audience, keep them more engaged, and get more leads and sales from your ads and your content marketing. Use these insights to reevaluate your content or to create a new strategy for your site.