How much do people read on their phones?

There is a notion that people don’t read substantial things on their phone. That is not true, at least based on how people read on Medium. The typical Medium App user spends 25% more time reading per day than Desktop users. Not only that, Medium App users share and interact twice as much with posts compared to Desktop users.

Above we look at how Minutes read per user per day (MRPU) differ by platform. Users can read Medium on three different platforms: Desktop, Mobile web and App (Android and iOS). On the first two they can be either logged in or logged out. Taken together this gives us five different use cases to split reading behavior on.

MRPU is more than twice as high on Medium App compared to Desktop (logged out) and circa 25% higher compared to Desktop (logged in). And we are seeing that the trend is that MRPU for the Medium App is growing faster than the other use cases.

Medium App users read more because they have more sessions and read more posts per session

Why do MRPU differ between the different use cases? One way to better understand MRPU is to look at the different actions that make up the metric. One way of thinking about it is this equation:

MRPU = Sessions per day * Posts per session * Minutes read per post

Let us break down MRPU and see how these components differ between our use cases:

We have been using averages throughout this analysis, which one needs to be careful about when dealing with a skewed distribution, which is the case for most of the metrics we have looked at. All of the conclusions have been sanity checked using medians and distributions.
  • Logged in users have more Sessions per day than logged out users, regardless of platform. Sessions per day is more or less the same for Desktop (logged in) and the Medium App.
  • When it comes to Posts per session the Medium App stands out with 25–40% more posts read per session compared to the other use cases.
  • Minutes read per post is actually lower for the Medium App compared to the other use cases, but only marginally so compared to Desktop (logged in).
  • However the relative differences for Sessions per day and Posts per session are greater than for Minutes read per post. So the main reason why we are seeing higher MRPU for Medium App is because users read more posts per session while they have just as many if not more sessions per day than other platforms.

Twice as many interactions with posts on the Medium App

Another important part of Medium is interacting with posts. Below we look at how much users interact on a daily basis for each of the use cases.

NB. All interactions, except External shares, are only possible when being logged in.
  • Medium interactions (recommends and highlights) are twice as common on Medium App compared Desktop (logged in) and Mobile web (logged in).
  • Medium Follows are roughly the same across the use cases.
  • On the Medium App users share posts externally twice as often as compared to the other logged in use cases.