Surprise COVID Trend: Doomscrolling Moved To Desktop

New data from Chartbeat finds that working from home has pushed people to scroll deeper through article pages on desktop, and slightly less through articles on mobile. From a report: The change, which coincides with the start of the pandemic, could suggest that users prefer to engage more with article pages when they have the opportunity to read them on a bigger screen. Several factors could be influencing the trend, says Bonnie Ray, head of data science at Chartbeat, an analytics company. Desktop usage has spiked overall as people spend more time at home. Pre-pandemic article reading habits on mobile may have shifted to desktop. Articles are encountered differently on desktop versus mobile. Ray found the portion of article views from search with no scrolling has gone down significantly over time, but hasn’t changed on social. A higher percentage of search traffic versus social occurs on desktop, so “it could be that articles we seek out via search are more relevant to us versus ones served up to us on social,” Ray says.

Window heights: Desktop scrolling may have increased more relative to mobile because window heights on desktop have changed very little over the past year, hovering at ~780 pixels, while window heights on mobile have increased from ~580 to 650 pixels. The trend mostly holds true for all but the smallest of websites.

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