Slideshows May Be the Key to Higher Engagement for Digital Publishers

And why video may not be as useful as you thought it was.

Video has long been hyped as “the next big thing,” guaranteed to drive revenue to struggling online media sites. But, putting out video with no strategy, and assuming it will work, is not smart or sustainable.

According to a recent report from, video may not drive as much traffic to publishers — or be as engaging — as we originally believed. looked at engaged time, number of returning visitors, and referral traffic across different types of content (short-form, long-form, slideshow, and video) in its network of 700+ content publishers. The results are surprising.

Slideshows are a Cost-Effective Alternative to Video

Slideshows tend to bring media outlets the most Facebook traffic of any other content format. This contradicts a common misconception among digital publishers that slideshows are virtually unshareable because they provide a poor reader experience.

As the production costs of a slideshow are typically lower than those of a video,’s findings suggest that slideshows are a cost-effective alternative to video for publishers who are looking to expand beyond text-only content.

Long-form Content is a Good Source of Growth

Long-form posts drive engagement and appear to be a good source of growth for digital publishers. Long-form content attracts new readers to online media sites via Google and keeps them engaged nearly twice as long as normal articles. Digital publishers looking for new visitors can invest in developing long-form content to attract and engage readers.

Interestingly enough, video appears to be the least engaging of all media formats in our investigation. Perhaps this is because video takes longer to load, so bounce rates are higher and average engagement times drop.

Who knows? Video might be the golden ticket that digital publishers are hoping for. But, without a solid strategy to ensure that video content is engaging and measurable, it is most assuredly not smart or sustainable.

Disclaimer: Allie VanNest works at, the analytics company that distributes the quarterly Authority Report. The Authority Report presents aggregate trends derived from’s network of more than 1,000 digital publishers.

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