Gamification, recommendation engines aid in reader engagement

By Oliver Hajjar

CRUX Knowledge

London, United Kingdom


Publishing content has lots of purposes, including increasing revenue, boosting readership numbers, and solidifying an online presence.

There’s one thing that can help make those goals a reality: reader engagement.

To grow your publication, you need to engage and retain the readers who are visiting your Web site. These are some of the key ways publishers can increase engagement with their readers.

Ongoing reader engagement requires use of tools like recommendation engines, prioritised content, and indicators that note whether articles have been read.
Ongoing reader engagement requires use of tools like recommendation engines, prioritised content, and indicators that note whether articles have been read.

Gamified experiences

Gamification can turn a simple piece of content into a full, interactive experience for users.

The process of gamification involves adding game-like experiences to non-game environments. These experiences encourage users to adopt a certain behaviour or take specific actions. A successful gamified experience taps into readers’ emotions and provides clear call-to-actions (CTAs) for users to follow.

Tools like our Knowledge Tracker allow readers to track how much knowledge they’ve gained on a certain topic by reading a publication’s articles. It encourages users to read more by suggesting articles to improve their knowledge, which increases user engagement and retention.

Social experiences

Creating a two-way social experience can have a major impact on how engaged readers are.

Reading content online doesn’t have to be an isolated task. Instead, by creating a dialogue with readers, you can create a community of like-minded people and build a relationship between them and your publication.

If you want the process of reading your articles to be more social, it’s important to have an active comments section. You’ll also need to reply to readers’ comments so they feel listened to and important. Start the dialogue by asking questions within your articles and include direct CTAs that encourage readers to leave comments and join the conversation.

If you want your readers to engage with content, ask yourself whether you are engaging with them.

Recommendation engines

Regardless of how good your content is, not every reader is going to be interested in every piece of content you publish. Therefore, to ensure readers access the content they are interested in, it is essential to keep them engaged and active on your site.

Making use of recommendation engines allows you to direct users to other articles they will find interesting. This not only retains them but also highlights how much you value them.

If you keep pushing a reader toward stories they have no interest in, they’re quickly going to get fed up and find another publication to source content. However, directing them toward content that matches their desires, interests, and knowledge level shows you’ve listened to them and care about the experience they have within your publication.

Providing users with the content they want allows you to provide an exceptional level of service that will keep them coming back.

A recommendation engine uses machine learning and user data to uncover patterns and preferences in the content that readers engage with, enabling you to offer them more of the same.

Priority content

We all like to feel important and like we’re accessing something ahead of everybody else. That’s why introducing priority content can help publishers attract readers to their sites and increase their engagement.

Offering opt-in-only, priority content gives you the opportunity to reach out to readers directly — often by an app notification or e-mail alert — directing them to a new piece of relevant content.

This helps readers feel important, like they’re accessing something that nobody else can access. Most importantly, it keeps them coming back for more. After all, once you’ve been treated like a VIP, why leave and go elsewhere?

The key here is to ensure the reader feels like you’re engaging with them directly. Whereas content preferences rely on users doing most of the legwork, you put the effort in with priority content, and it’s unlikely to go unnoticed.

Priority content can be articles such as top-performing pieces, new features, or breaking news stories.

Read and unread indicators

Allowing readers to track what they’ve read encourages them to read more content and continually return to your publication, helping to boost engagement.

How well you retain readers and encourage them to engage with your content comes down to the quality of the experience you offer. Users don’t want to be presented with the same content over and over again or scroll through a feed of articles they’ve already read.

Allowing readers to indicate when they’ve read an article encourages them to engage with your content and enables them to track where they are on their knowledge journey.

When new articles become available or unread content is suggested to them, they’ll be more likely to read and engage.

Final thoughts

Investing time and money in reader engagement is important if you want to achieve those goals noted early in this article.

We often focus on growing our readership figures and widening the scope of our publications, both of which are crucial factors for success. However, if you don’t nurture and encourage your existing readers to engage with your content, you’ll miss out on vital data and information about their behaviour and preferences.

Increasing reader engagement can help publishers create an even better publication experience and enable then to strive for wider audience growth.

About Oliver Hajjar

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.