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Data: Chartbeat; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New data from Chartbeat provided to Axios finds that working from home has pushed people to scroll deeper through article pages on desktop, and slightly less through articles on mobile.

Why it matters: 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.

  1. Desktop usage has spiked overall as people spend more time at home. Pre-pandemic article reading habits on mobile may have shifted to desktop.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Between the lines: The trend mostly holds true for all but the smallest of websites.

  • A page view with no scrolling means that the viewer never scrolled "below the fold" on a website, or below the typical height of a desktop browser — about 780 pixels.
  • Scroll depth has stayed the same for landing pages on desktop, but has decreased over time for landing pages on mobile.
  • In North America, the percentage of people who do not scroll "below the fold," on article pages has decreased significantly during the pandemic from 34% to 25% across both mobile and desktop.

Scrolling behavior mirrors overall desktop and mobile trends over time, with new visitors tending to scroll slightly deeper than returning or loyal visitors.   

The bottom line: On social media, users often jokingly complain about spending more time "doomscrolling," or absorbing dystopian news while scrolling through their phones.

  • The Chartbeat analysis suggests that while we like to joke about "doomscrolling," we are in fact scrolling deeper through articles, at least on desktop, than we were before.

Methodology: The data from a sample of 300 global sites of all sizes that opt-in to allow Chartbeat to aggregate and anonymize their data for research purposes.

Go deeper

49 mins ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."

Democrats stiff Biden as poll numbers hit low point

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Democrats in swing states and vulnerable districts in this year's pivotal midterms are distancing themselves from President Biden on social media as his poll numbers hit their lowest point.

Why it matters: The digital distance is one sign of the concern candidates feel about a person they'd normally embrace. Incumbent presidents — including one who believes he needs to come to their hometowns to sell his message — would normally be political gold for candidates from the same party.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Tesla delays Cybertruck until 2023

Tesla debuts the Cybertruck in Hawthorne, Calif., on Nov. 21, 2019. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Tesla is at risk of falling behind on one of the most critical products in the American auto industry: pickups.

Why it matters: Pickups are the most profitable segment in the business and account for the first, second and third best-selling vehicles in the country. Without a serious pickup strategy, Tesla could miss out on a huge source of future income.