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Have you ever wondered how many users actually read through your entire blog post or article?

Quietly’s custom completion rate metric allows you to measure just that. Understanding how users are engaging with your content helps you learn more about your audience and create more valuable and effective content.

What Is a Completion Rate?

A completion rate is a custom metric developed by Quietly. Do your users read through each sentence on a page, or simply skim through to the bottom of the story?

Quietly Insights is able to discern which users actually read through an article, and which users just scrolled to the end of the page. With this information, you can find out specifics for each page: for example, the percentage of your site’s users who read every paragraph in a particular article, or the percentage of users who bounced before reaching your CTA. You can also find out specifics for your entire site, such as the average completion rate of all your pages.

How Is Completion Rate Calculated?

To illustrate how completion rate is calculated, here’s a simple example:

If one of your stories has 10 paragraphs:

  • User 1 reads all 10 paragraphs
  • User 2 reads through 9 paragraphs
  • User 3 only reads 8 paragraphs

Your page’s completion rate is therefore 33%, since only one of the three users (User 1) actually read all 10 paragraphs.

Completion rate is tracked by users, irrespective of sessions—so if a user comes back and finishes an article they were previously reading, it will be marked as complete.

To illustrate this in the example:

  • User 1 reads all 10 paragraphs
  • User 2 reads through 9 paragraphs
  • User 3 only reads 8 paragraphs
  • User 3 comes back in a new session and reads the 2 paragraphs that they previously missed

The new completion rate is 66%.

Completion rate measures the percentage of users that finish reading all paragraphs in a story. Note that this is not to be confused with the average read percentage, which measures how much of a story is read by users on each visit.


Track your blog’s completion rate with Quietly Insights.

Why Does Completion Rate Matter?

This metric is a much more direct way to measure user engagement and story effectiveness than proxy metrics like average time on page, average session duration, or bounce rate. When using these proxy metrics, you have to infer how much of your content users have actually read. You only get a few pieces of the puzzle, but not the big picture.

Completion rate rounds out your knowledge of user activities on your site by telling you whether users have actually read your content. A high completion rate suggests your content is compelling, valuable, and worth reading. Meanwhile, a low completion rate suggests the opposite—readers don’t see enough value in your content to justify the time spent reading it. A low completion rate could suggest several things:

  • You’re targeting the wrong audience
    • Your content could be too simple or complex for your target readers, or you’re not attracting the right type of reader to your site.
  • Your site’s user experience (UX) could use some improvement
    • If it takes forever for your site to load, or there are too many ads or sidebar distractions, readers may abandon your page before finishing the article.

Completion rate is an excellent tool to benchmark top- and middle-of-funnel activity, but not necessarily bottom-of-funnel activity. The preferred outcome of this metric also depends on your goals for specific stories and for your site. For example, if your goal is to drive sales, you’d most likely prefer a 0% completion rate where 90% of readers left halfway through an article to make a purchase. For the most part, a 100% completion rate is a good thing, but you also don’t want every user to read through each story without converting or moving to a purchase page.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to measure completion rate to get a full understanding of activity and use on your site. You should also make sure to compare this metric with others like average read percentage and conversion rate to get a holistic understanding of your site’s performance.

You can track your stories’ completion rate with Quietly Insights. Concerned or uncertain about your completion rate? We’re here to help! Give us a call at Quietly to help you optimize your website and marketing efforts.

Photo: FabrikaSimf / Shutterstock Inc

Understand and deliver better content marketing with Quietly Insights.