Tracking Audio Articles

Early traction indicates growth through adoption cycle

The idea for SpeechKit was conceived from our ambition for limitless audio; a service that would sync publishers with technology, creating a new medium and extend the opportunity to engage with news. We’re on a mission to abolish the “unread guilt factor” by putting audio articles at the fingertips of every news consumer — creating seamless transitions from text-to-audio.

Sounds bold, right?

Hitting a curve

Well, it was. It is. Like any wide-eyed startup team, we’ve spent the last 18 months tirelessly putting our money where our mouth is — nail-biting along the way. We worked hard to create a suite of audio products that suit the needs of evolving newsrooms and we’ve successfully brought audio articles to a growing number of innovators. They gave us hope and a chance to develop through to the next phase of the technology adoption life cycle, learning, iterating, and, occasionally, apologising as we went.

Listeners are likely to spend longer on-site, read more articles and are more likely to return.

Over the past few months, tracking audio articles through SpeechKit, we’ve been encouraged. Not only are more publishers using this format as a way to increase the reach and impact of their stories — audio is becoming a powerful retention and engagement tool. Tracking the behaviour of audio listeners we are starting to see some useful trends.

How are audio articles improving audience engagement?

From a recent sample data set collected over a month across 38 million sessions and 12 million visitors, we have derived;

1. Listeners hang out

Visitors that play audio spend up to 5 minutes on average on-site.

The average time spent on-site by a non-audio listening visitor was only about 25 seconds — not much time to engage with a story. When a visitor hits the audio option, however, the average time-spent-on-site* increases to 4 minutes 56 seconds! This is not only great for reader engagement but improves the search engine effectiveness, user satisfaction and advertising metrics.

*Time Spent on Site: How long a user spent on your site in total.

2. Listeners consume more content

Visitors that play audio visit 14% more pages.

The average pages viewed by a news website visitor across our sample was just 1.18 pages-per-session. However, when the visitor engages with audio, this figure increased to 1.34 pages-per-session*. This may still seem small but this is a 14% increased chance that a visitor will visit another story, will get more value from your site, and increase your ability to monetise.

*Pages per Session: the average number of pages viewed during a session on your website. More pages per session mean that users are more engaged and exploring more of your site.

3. Listeners are more likely to return

48% of returning visitors play audio compared to 35% who don’t.

48% of returning visitors play audio compared to 35% who don’t.

THIS IS A BIG ONE — audio articles are proving more popular with returning visitors — indicating this is a format for engaged, loyal and valuable news customers. New visitors that choose to play audio are more likely to return to the site than those that don’t.

We’re thrilled by these metrics

Audio articles are evolving through the technology adoption cycle, benefiting both publisher and readers— FACT. At SpeechKit, we build tools that allow websites of any size to instantly integrate audio. We work with sites such as MIT Review, FreightWaves and The Irish Times, creating seamless transitions from reader to the listener.

Visit us at, download our WordPress plugin, or get in touch to learn more.

James Macleod

Co-Founder @ SpeechKit