Infinite scroll, also called continuous scroll, is a technique that loads new content as you scroll through a webpage without the need to navigate or press ‘next page’ to get to more content. Typically, infinite scroll is seen on social media sites but news sites and other sites with lots of content or blog posts can also benefit considerably from this format.
Infinite scrolling is an effective visual design to keep your readers engaged. Also, infinite scroll eliminates the need for pagination. Pagination is the row of numbers that appears at the bottom of a page on a website or app.
For instance, let’s say you are creating a news app. If your feed of news stories doesn’t properly engage the reader, the reader won’t stay for long. Personalizing topics according to your readers’ interests is crucial.
Why You Need to Optimize Content with Infinite Scroll
The internet has allowed users an endless amount of information just with the click of a few buttons. Because the amount of information is endless, content marketing has become increasingly difficult.
To make your content stand out, you must make the user experience (UX) relevant and engaging through better content creation and better user experience design.
Write articles tailored to your audience through researching data like common trending meta descriptions. Recommend the right content you’ve then created by using behavioral data through a recommendation engine (like LiftIgniter).
By optimizing your UX to show the next best article for that person, you have created an experience that will create loyalty in your readers.
The Benefits of Personalized News
Personalized recommendations on your news feed increases time on site as users are more likely to find content that is relevant and interesting to them. With an optimized infinite scroll, a user can interact with your site by reading more articles that interest them.
Optimizing your newsfeed or other content feed greatly improves time on site, which is key to a website’s success. Also, because readers don’t have to click and load the next page, they can seamlessly and effortlessly scroll through content.
Personalized news combined with infinite scroll is a perfect match. UX professionals enjoy the infinite scroll design because the navigation is much more streamlined. This interaction design is especially valuable on mobile where it’s often difficult to navigate a small screen by clicking an even smaller button.
According to a 2019 Study conducted by Reuters Institute, two-thirds of users consume news on a Smartphone weekly. Since 2013, this usage has doubled in most countries.
Consider this: most major social media sites use infinite scroll in some capacity to engage users (think Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter). Due to the prevalence of this design, the majority of people are already used to scrolling through endless content. By optimizing that content, your readers can enjoy a truly responsive experience, making it easier to browse your new, more relatable content.
Be Careful of Creating an Echo Chamber
According to the Oxford Dictionary, an echo chamber is defined as “an environment in which a person encounters only beliefs or opinions that coincide with their own, so that their existing views are reinforced and alternative ideas are not considered.” News outlets and other forms of content all need to consider this concern, especially when combining a personalized recommendation engine with a highly habit-forming UX like infinite scroll.
Users are often exposed to content they may not have found otherwise, such as older content that closely relates to their interests but which would otherwise be buried on the site. As users come back again and again, the experience may be optimized, but can also lead readers down a path where alternative views are not presented.
Offering content too similar to the article before it can reinforce and polarize your readers. Although you want to display content that appeals, you still need to create a fair and balanced view. To avoid this, be sure to choose an optimization method that provides some variety. Present your audience with other topics like breaking news, or with topics on which they don’t ordinarily engage.
Personalization Use Case
LiftIgniter’s real-time recommendation engine optimizes the infinite scroll newsfeed, for each reader, based on multiple factors. The engine takes all of your visitor’s previous behavior and makes real-time suggestions to each individual user. We can customize your newsfeed to an audience of one. While some metrics are more difficult to track with infinite scroll, LiftIgniter also will provide more feedback and analytics about user behavior.
South China Morning Post, for example, uses LiftIgniter to personalize its newsfeed and improve the user experience. As readers scroll down they are shown content recommended for them, in real-time. Once a visitor clicks, scrolls by, or spends time reading a specific article, the subsequent content becomes more optimized for their interests.
Here is the typical approach our customers use to implement an optimized infinite scroll:
- Populate about ten articles in the initial feed, based on a user’s interests gained from previous actions on the site. If the user is new, populate the articles based on recent trending and the initial article visited by this user.
- Collect and store information on the visitor’s actions and behaviors with the first ten articles.
- Ask LiftIgniter for the next ten articles when the user scrolls towards the end of the first ten articles. In real time, LiftIgniter’s engine leverages machine learning to analyze the users actions and behaviors for the first ten articles to respond with the next ten articles.
- As the user scrolls, this cycle continues to improve the content.
Will Infinite Scroll Work for Your Site?
Infinite scrolling is great for sites with lots of written content for readers to consume, but it doesn’t work for every site. Keep in mind, a standard in-article recommendation area may be a better solution for websites on which you sell a product or service.
Also, optimizing the content in an infinite scroll design is only as good as the content you put out there. If your content isn’t compelling, or if the subject matter isn’t relevant, using an engine to determine the next piece of content will not improve user experience.
Most importantly, be sure to keep your reader’s experience front and center, and select a user experience (UX) that works for them. If you keep your users engaged with the right UX, your KPIs will improve, and ultimately you will find a loyal, satisfied audience.