KEO Marketing

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Readers Absorb Less Using Electronic Readers – The Impact on Marketing

content marketingA new study found that readers using a handheld electronic reader were “significantly” worse at recalling events and details than readers of printed material. The study, led by Norway’s Stavanger University, gave 50 readers a short story. Half read the story on an electronic reader and half read a printed version. Readers were then tested on aspects of the story.

Anne Mangen of Norway’s Stavanger University, a lead researcher on the study, found that the subjects who used electronic readers performed significantly worse on the plot reconstruction measure. This was also true when they read pdf documents online. She and her fellow researchers found that students who read texts in print scored significantly better on the reading comprehension test than students who read the texts digitally.

Even though this research was performed with a short fiction story, it gives us data on how people read the content that we produce. If all of our content is digital, it is possible that our website visitors may not be remembering all of it. So it is a good idea to have important documents, such as sales sheets and data sheets, in print and ready-to-print format from the website.

Now that we’ve seen this data, should we discontinue electronic content all together? Absolutely not. People expect it. This is a reminder, though, that if we want prospects to read and absorb important content such as data sheets, sales sheets and even advertising, then it is an important part of a content marketing strategy to have printable versions available for download. Printed materials will be read and remembered longer than the digital version, so make strategic pieces of your content printable.


With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.