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Medium.com Stats Offer Same Critical Insight As YouTube

Medium.com insights

Medium.com is a major content site whose business model relies entirely on subscriptions. It doesn’t have a single advertiser on it.

The statistics page in a Medium account provides one compelling insight that has much in common with YouTube statistics.

Anyone who publishes often on YouTube knows the analytics there emphasize one metric above all others: watch time in minutes.

YouTubers know Google wants to keep visitors on YouTube as long as possible. A longer watch time means more engagement. It also means more chances to display advertising.

Medium apparently wants the same thing: keep visitors on site as long as possible.

The rather limited Medium statistics display four major metrics: Views, Reads, Read Ratio and Fans.

A View means someone clicked onto the page. A Read is someone who reads the entire story. The Read Ratio is Reads divided by Views as a percentage. A Fan “claps” for the story as a form of praise.

Why Minutes Matter

One interesting aspect about Medium appears on the home page, topic page and other pages. They show the headline, the author and the publication date. They also show the estimated number of minutes it will take for someone to read the entire story. Most unusual.

Medium authors should take that minutes metric as an indication of the importance of time per article, just as YouTube emphasizes time per video.

It means the Read Ratio is somewhat misleading as an indicator of the effectiveness of the article. Short articles inevitably have a higher read ratio than long articles, just as short videos have a high retention rate on YouTube while long ones have a low retention rate.

Ideally, a Medium author will write every story at a similar length, say 1,000 words, which means the story is readable in a similar amount of time. It makes comparisons much easier.

Then the Read Ratio becomes useful for comparing each story’s level of engagement. But again, that’s an ideal approach.

The Read Ratio has one other useful benefit. It encourages the writer to focus on the quality and engagement level of the second half of the story.

For example, does the story have enough subtitles? Are they compelling? What about images and pull quotes? Does it flow well? Does it provide useful content or insights throughout the entire story?

A simple focus on just an average read ratio no matter the length of the article is misleading. Instead, authors may find greater benefit by focusing on the ratio as a measure of total minutes, just like YouTube.

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