Experiment Results: Is Medium a Viable Platform?

If you remember our original article about whether Medium was a valuable platform for content marketing, we had set out specific goals and had a game plan of what to achieve. To recap, our goals were:

Visits to Growth Labs: Leads: Timeframe:
50 5 2 months

We prepared 2 articles for this experiment, one about a Google Drive snafu we experienced, and one about my first year as an inbound marketer. We will go more in depth about the two articles later, but here are the results from Medium’s statistics dashboard. It is split into the first and second months, and you can see the total stats at the end.

My First Year as an Inbound Marketer

Views January 17th – Jan 30th

Views January 31st – February 28

Reads January 17th – Jan 30th

Reads January 31st – February 28

How We Lost Over 6,000 Euro by Not Understanding Google Drive

Views January 17th – Jan 30th

Views January 31st – February 28

Reads January 17th – Jan 30th

Reads January 31st – February 28


The Plan

From our first post, we followed the plan closely but ended up changing a few things. Here are the goals from the original post:

  • Create a Growth Labs Medium Account
  • Start following, sharing and reading others’ submissions to learn from them
  • Republish two of the best performing articles we currently have, based on views and click-through rate (CTR)
  • Write one long, well written story that is related to our company and/or our field
  • Use HubSpot to track traffic via a custom tracking codes (UTMs)
  • Make sure every article we publish on Medium links back to our website

This is what we did and what changed:

  • We didn’t create a specific Growth Labs account on Medium, but Grant and I signed up individually, partially due to an oversight in creating the accounts.

The Articles

We decided to write two long form articles, and they turned out to be, by far, the two longest ones we have ever written for Growth Labs.

One was to be targeted towards companies and small businesses, providing actionable advice from a costly mistake we had made. We felt that the headline and content would be a sure grab, and personally I felt it would do well.

The second article was to be more of a personal story, talking about my first year as an inbound marketer. With this, we were aiming to attract newbies to the field as well as businesses that were unsure of what inbound was and how it works. The idea was to describe some trial and tribulations with clients and how we solved problems. This also gave us a good opportunity to show some insight into our agency to build proof.

Remember that in Chloe’s article, she recommended to “Tell stories that are truly interesting”. We really felt that both of these stories fit the bill. We were strong on the position that we wanted to write a story rather than a how to or opinion article. I think we did pretty well.

We published the articles on our Medium accounts a day or two apart, and promoted them as we would normally do for an article on our blog.


The performance of both articles are far apart, and one reason is we used our personal social media accounts to promote them. Compared to Grant, especially on Twitter, I have done nothing to promote myself. When we posted links to our social media profiles, he instantly got more views and clicks than I would ever have. The lesson here is that while cultivating your social media presence might seem tedious and offer no returns, when you do post something with a lot of potential traction, your hard work will kick in. Remember that it doesn’t matter how good your content is if no one can see it. Look at cultivating your or your business’s social media as getting the audience ready for when you do publish something great.

The End Result

Here are the results from our custom campaign dashboard in HubSpot.

As you can see below from the analytics on Medium, the articles were really successful. We also hit one of our two goals. However, how much of this was because of Medium is negligible. If we look at the referrals to the posts, we see that a proportionally small amount of that traffic was from Medium itself (from Medium analytics).

12 out of 157 (7%) referrals were from Medium.

173 out of 8,300 referrals (2%) were from Medium

I can’t help but feel we would have done better by just posting these articles to our own company blog and promote them from there. It would have led to more direct traffic than the roundabout way to go from (promo source) -> Medium -> Growth Labs. Personally, I was hoping that once the articles got more traction that it would get more people from Medium engaged.

It is really hard for me to see what a difference Medium did. From ~8,500 readers, only 171 (2%) clicked through to our website.

Final Thoughts

For us, we hit 1 of our 2 goals. However, the percentages are quite low for what Medium actually gave us. That is to say, from the large amount of people who read the articles on Medium, only 2% actually clicked through. At the same time, we could have done more, such as added clearer CTAs to the articles. A small part of my brain is telling me Medium is better suited for freelancers and individuals to build their brand up rather than an established business with a website and blog.

However, content marketing is a long haul strategy, and we did beat one of our two (conservative) goals. I am not ready to write off Medium entirely and I definitely feel that we could continue to use it with some refinement, but I don’t think it will be a major focus of our overall strategy.