Are users reading your website copy? 4 methods to determine your copy’s engagement level

Written by
Ally Willis

“People don’t read copy.”


In a previous article, I challenged this common myth. ‘Tis simply not true. (Missed that? You can read it here.)


So if users do read copy (the non-snoozy kind, at least), are there methods to determine how your website’s copy is performing?


Why yes, yes there are! Here are four ways to gauge if users are reading your website copy.

1. Successful Conversions

You’ve got a waterfall of new leads pouring in from your website? Hip, hip, hooray! That’s a healthy sign that your website’s copy — in tandem with UX and design (teamwork makes the dream work) — is doing its job as a marketing tool.


Let’s take it a step further. How did those leads hear about your firm? Are they referrals (warmer leads) or did they find you through a Google search (colder leads)? If your website is bringing in those colder leads on a regular basis, your website copy is likely contributing to those conversion results.

2. Average Engagement Time

A new metric rolled out with GA4 is average engagement time. (Previously, UA had the “time on page” metric, which used different data to calculate.)


Average engagement time for a page is the average length of time that the website has focus within the user’s browser. The higher the engagement time? The more likely users are reading your copy.

3. Page Scroll Depth

Page scroll depth is a helpful metric for determining the readability of your “content” pages, like blog posts, white papers, and case studies. These are pieces of content that you want users to read from start to finish. If 80 – 90% of users are reading the bottom of these pages? Woohoo! There’s a good chance they are reading the copy on the page.


But… not all pages are meant to have deep page scroll depth. 


Take your homepage. This is intended to be a jumping-off point for users to navigate to the information they need. In this case, it’s common for page scroll depth to be minimal; users typically move to different pages on your site using call-to-actions in your hero section and main navigation menu.

4. User Session Recordings

User session recordings are my faaaavorite metric on this list. Y’all… there’s so much you can learn from them! 


From user session recordings, you get a real-life look into how users are engaging with each page. Are they lingering on a certain section? This suggests engagement with your copy. Or are they scrolling right on past a section? This suggests the user is reading little, if any, of the copy.

We use Microsoft Clarity for both page scroll depth and user session recordings. It’s free, simple to set up, and easy to use. (We love all three of those things!)

Want help setting up Microsoft Clarity? We’re happy to help, at no cost. We’re not an affiliate, just a big fan of a good analytics tool. Reach out to us here.

There ya have it, four ways to determine if your copy is drawing in those eyeballs — or getting ignored in favor of the exit button.

Ally Willis is partner and Director of Strategy at Starling

With a background in conversion copywriting since 2017, she helps clients ask questions, analyze research, test theories, and dig through the results to create custom website optimization strategies.

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