A Detailed Look At Earnings Per 1000 Views On Medium
How, why, full-time income on Medium, and all the small print
Let's say you've made it! You constantly get views in the thousands on your stories. A goal that's not too farfetched in my book, considering the fact that high-profile writers make a few thousand dollars per month, even crossing 5 figures. It took them years to get there, so don't panic after 3 posts.
1000 views on a single story is a great first milestone to work towards. Crossing that the first time was a huge thing for me. I celebrated it like there was no tomorrow. The same happened when I crossed 10,000 views on a story for the first time. These milestones are important. Well, enjoying them is, at least.
But what can you expect from hitting 1000 views on a Medium story? It's not fame and fortune just yet, I can tell you that much. Still, I rarely see exact numbers here. So I thought I'd give it a go.
Here's the first problem, though. 1000 views on Medium are elusive. Not every milestone is created equal in this case. If you see 1K on your stats page, dig a little deeper. Check the detailed stats.
What kind of views
The first question to answer is: What kind of views are we talking about? Are these mostly internal views or external views? Luckily, Medium divides the two on the story stats page.
Why does this matter? Well, this will heavily influence the overall earnings of any given story. External views won't make you a dime in most cases. A story with 1000 external views will therefore earn you zip.
On the other hand, a story with 1000 internal views…
Let's talk numbers
Now we're getting somewhere. 1000 internal views. Congratulations, first off. That's a fantastic achievement in my book. One that many writers haven't celebrated yet.
Once you hit that milestone, you should see something like this on your stats page (luckily I had one post at exactly 1K views):
There you go. $32.11 for 1000 views from a story published with Writers' Blokke in September 2021. Of these 1K views, 87 were external views and 984 internal views. Medium rounds up or down to 1K.
Worth mentioning is that this story has not been curated by Medium. Because it's a story about Medium - just like the one you're reading right now. That directly violates the Distribution Guidelines. Hence… no curation.
BUT that doesn't matter much in terms of earnings. 1000 views will still earn you money. $32 in this case.
For reference, Vocal Media pays $3.80 for 1000 views on the free account or $6 per 1000 views with Vocal+.
The problem with this number is its unpredictability. You probably won't get exactly $32.11 for the same amount of views. I'll tell you why:
As mentioned before, only internal views count, so if your external views are higher, your earnings go down.
It's not the views that count, it's the reading time, more precisely the member reading time. You only get paid when a paying Medium member reads your story. Reading is calculated by time spent on the post, as well as scrolling actions, e.g. how far down did the reader scroll.
I'm not sure if and how claps and engagement are taken into account for the earnings as well. It used to be the case. Claps, in particular, were crucial. That's one reason why "older" stories usually have a higher number of claps than current stories get. It was easy to hack the system, that's why Medium stepped away from relying on claps.
For these 3 reasons, your earnings per 1000 views/reads might differ greatly from mine. In fact, my earnings differ greatly too.
I calculated an average based on 6 of my stories with a range of 900–3000 views. I landed on an average of $34 per 1000 views for these 6 stories.
The highest one was $48 for 1000 views, the lowest rate came in at "only" $18 per 1000 reads.
That last number is interesting because it shows an additional cause for varying pay rates: shortform posts.
Length matters, for now
I'm a regular writer for The Shortform by Tom Fenske. In fact, I've recently joined that publication as an editor. Since I write shortform content often, I can tell you a couple of interesting observations:
Shortform content - while not curated - can still go viral. 1000 views or more is not uncommon. But the earnings for these short posts are lower than for long-form content. I can only imagine that this has something to do with reading time.
Shortform content is more efficient in terms of earnings. By that I mean, writing a short post probably takes you a lot less time than a long post. But the pay cut for 1000 views might not be that much lower. If we go by the average of $34 and a value of $18 for a Shortform post with 1000 views, you see that it's more than half the money. I don't know about you, but it takes me way less time than half to write a shortform post. Hence, more efficient.
The downside is that shortform posts won't go viral as often as long-form content just yet. Since this content form keeps growing as well as the publications tailored to short posts, this might change. Then, shortform could become even more valuable to earn money.
The bottom line
Let's quickly recap:
- On average, I made $34 for 1000 views on Medium
- I made $18 for a shortform post with 1000 views
- Earnings will fluctuate greatly depending on factors like external views, member reading time, post length, etc.
A fun thought experiment
For a fun calculation at the end of this post, let's say you wanted to make a full-time income on Medium. Let's assume you'd need around $2500 a month for that. How many stories with 1000 views would you have to write per month?
The answer is about 75 stories!
75 * $34 = $2550.
That's a lot.
This indicates that 1000 views on average per story are not enough to make a living on Medium. However, think about further calculations.
If you double that to 2000 views per story, you'd need about 38 stories per month. With 3000 views, you'd need 25. That sounds much more realistic, doesn't it?
It shows another thing: You don't need to strike viral hits all the time. Viral being ten thousands of views or even hundred thousands. Even the lower thousands can do the trick. 3000–5000 views.
To me, that sounds doable. What do you say?
P.S.: First of all, you should get my posts in your inbox. Do that here!
Secondly, if you like to experience Medium yourself, consider supporting me and thousands of other writers by signing up for a membership. It only costs $5 per month, it supports us, writers, greatly, and you have the chance to make money with your writing as well. Of course, you can cancel the membership anytime. By signing up with this link, you'll support me directly with a portion of your fee, it won't cost you more. If you do so, thank you a million times!
Lastly, if you want to get personal with me, the best place is my newsletter. Sign up for free here.