What Is a Good Read Ratio on Medium?

And why a high read ratio can be a bad thing

Thomas Smith
Nov 20, 2020 · 2 min read
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Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

A good Medium read ratio is generally between 20 and 50%.

It depends, though, on the length of your article and the audience you’re trying to engage. Very short articles (3 minutes or less) tend to have a higher read ratio, because it takes less time for a reader to complete the article.

Likewise, long articles tend to have lower read ratios — but not always. I have a 23 minute article that still has a 30% read ratio because its content is very engaging. But in general, if your article takes longer to read, it will tend to have a lower ratio. Seven minutes is usually the sweet spot in terms of article length to get an optimal read ratio.

If your read ratio is too high, that can indicate a problem, too. If everyone finishes reading your piece, that can be an indication that it was too short. Readers may be left wanting more, and you may have had the opportunity to go into more detail on a specific topic.

If you write a 5–8 minute piece and it has a very high read ratio, congratulate yourself on writing something really engaging, but also immediately start to think of follow-ups.

Can you write another article (or several) building on the same topic, or exploring aspects of it in more depth? If people loved your shorter article about the topic and were really engaged, it’s likely that they’ll want to engage with your follow-up pieces too.

If your ratio is really low, there can be reasons for that, too — so don’t immediately despair. It could be that your article is getting a lot of traffic from external sources (Flipboard, social media, etc.) and these readers (who often aren’t Medium members) tend to spend less time reading stories on average. Over time, it’s likely that your ratio will increase as more members read your piece.

Also keep in mind that read ratio is a lagging number. It’s only updated periodically, and Medium waits a while before assuming that a reader has stopped reading an article. So for newly published pieces, your read ratio might appear very low at first, but over time it will go up as more people who are in the middle of reading the piece finish it, and as Medium updates the numbers.

Here are some more tips on improving read ratio and other Medium metrics: This Formula Determines Your Medium Earnings — Thrive on Medium

Adapted from an answer I originally wrote on Quora.

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Thomas Smith

Written by

Co-Founder & CEO of Gado Images. I write, speak and consult about tech, privacy, AI and photography. My tips for Medium success: ThriveOnMedium.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +752K people. Follow to join our community.

Thomas Smith

Written by

Co-Founder & CEO of Gado Images. I write, speak and consult about tech, privacy, AI and photography. My tips for Medium success: ThriveOnMedium.com

The Startup

Medium's largest active publication, followed by +752K people. Follow to join our community.

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