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The Reason Why Your Views (and Earnings) Are Down This August

  • 4 min read

It’s simple and has to do with Medium’s latest changes

On Substack, my friend J.R. Heimbigner shared a piece about the importance of not putting all eggs in one basket when writing online.

I left a comment because this piece really resonated with me.

Medium is rented land. This means you don’t own your audience.

In addition, you’re a victim of the algorithm. At least once per year the algorithm changes — some people benefit from it. Others don’t.

In this iteration period Medium says its algorithm is broken.

Isn’t good.

Human curation is much better. That's why they launched the Boost Program in beta. Human stories rule.

That’s the type of content Medium members want to read and external visitors turn into paying customers.

This is where Medium’s new earnings calculation comes in.

Reading time (the actual time people spend reading your post) isn’t the most important metric anymore.

There are multiple factors such as…

  • read ratio — Medium members who clicked your post and read it
  • claps — only the first counts! You don’t have to clap 50 times to support anyone.
  • highlights
  • followers reading your post
  • number of new followers

In addition, there’s a Boost bonus.

This means you get extra points if you got Boosted and supported the content mill Medium with a story that the platform incentivizes because it’s the type of stuff people like, makes them stay on the platform and engage.

You may think:

“That’s nice to know… but what about my views?”

You’re right.

Let’s come back to the headline of this story… views are down — at least for your non-Boosted stories.

JR told me:

“The funny thing about Medium right now is that I took a post that had three views. I didn’t share it on social media, I just dropped it on Medium and it got three views. Now, I took that same post and put it on my updated blog. Didn’t post to social media and it got 70 organic views from Google search. So frustrating. But, what can we do?”

JR got more “views” on his blog via Google than on Medium with a built-in audience.

I also wondered about my views. They are very low

On the one hand, I’m on maternity leave and simply can’t find time to write (my baby is taking a nap so I’m writing these lines pretty quickly).

On the other hand, Medium introduced a 30-second rule for views.

A view is not a view anymore.

A view only counts if a person reads your post for at least 30 seconds.

30 seconds!

I talked to several of my creator friends about it.

Let’s take YouTube for instance.

On the stats page, you can see how many people continued watching your video after 30 seconds.

However, if your account is eligible to earn money you get paid for every view (also those for less than 30 seconds).

You need to address your viewers in the opening 30 seconds

If you don’t address your viewers in the opening 30 seconds and make them stick around, you won’t get paid because it’s not a view!

Tech writers are really annoyed about Medium’s recent changes.

Their earnings are down by 50% to 90%!

Tech articles are slowly dying on Medium — only Boosted ones get views and earn.

Since August 1st, tech writers have been seeing this effect.

photo credit: PyCoach

In other genres it’s similar.

So don’t worry.

You’re in good company if you're also seeing negative effects.

But hey… keep your head up!

The only constant on Medium is change.

Buster Benson, Product Manager at Medium, already shared:

photo credit Buster Benson in the comments PyCoach

It’s Medium’s first draft!

They will adjust the earnings calculation (including what’s a view) in September.

Good news or bad news?

We’ll see.

All I know is that I received a lot of emails with questions about Substack where I’m hosting my newsletter.

My tip is definitely to write on Medium, and host a newsletter (and repurpose your content) on Substack!

Join my newsletter to keep up to date!

Since I’m on maternity I can’t write that much at the moment on Medium.

How are Medium’s latest changes impacting you?

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