How Much Do Follower Numbers Affect Earnings?

I dig into the data to see if it matters or not

Photo by Markus Spiske on Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

When I look at my own follower numbers and earnings, there doesn’t seem to be much of a relationship between the two. The top earners on Medium usually have massive followings, but other than that I’m not sure if it makes any difference or not.

For this article, I’ve found as many income reports as I can. This isn’t going to be totally accurate, because some of the earnings may be from months or years ago. The follower count will be what I see today. Hopefully, I’ll still be able to see some broad patterns.

Another thing to note is that earnings can go up and down dramatically from month to month. Below, I’ve picked random months. These writers could have earned substantially more or less in other months.

In a post published in August 2020, Sinem Günel mentioned that she earned $11,163.62 in July 2020. Sinem has 65,000 followers.

Joe Duncan earned an incredible $9,355.67 in January 2020. He has 17,200 followers. It took Tom a year to reach this amount.

Peter White earned a very respectable $ 3,406.73 in March 2022. Peter earned this in only his second month on Medium. He has 3,900 followers.

Burk earned $2,595.30 in February 2022. He has 10,800 followers. It took Burk 300 stories to reach this amount.

Emma Colsey-Nicholls earned $1,528.55 in June 2022. She has 2,300 followers. You can read about Emma’s best month here.

I (Mike Lewis) earned $955.33 in June 2022. I have 3,900 followers. My best month was in April when I earned $1,695. I expect to earn around $400 this month (July 2022). Here is my June 2022 earnings report.

Timothy Kincaid earned $737.72 in May 2022. He mainly writes about fiction. He has 2,000 followers.

Paul Walker earned $692.10 in June 2022. He has 1,500 followers. Paul has earned $3,384 in 6 months here.

It took Kristina God 10 months and 400 stories to reach $650 a month in with around 1,500 followers.

Tom C earns $500 a month. He’s published over 400 articles on Medium in the last 15 months. He has 1,300 followers.

Robert Ralph earned $405.40 in March 2022. He has 5,400 followers. He wrote about it his March 2022 Earnings article.

Tom Egelhoff earned $367.38 in March 2022. Tom has 817 followers. He wrote about how his earnings increased from $43.

Michael Joseph earned $330.71 in March 2022. It was his fourth month of writing here. Michael has 1,200 followers.

Do these figures give us any useful information?

I’ve put the info from above into a spreadsheet and sorted it by earnings. I’ve also calculated earnings per 1,000 followers.

Spreadsheet by the author

What we can see from the above spreadsheet is that the top earners tend to have more followers. But it’s not as clear-cut as it seems.

Sinem Günel is only earning $172 per 1,000 followers, while Peter White is earning a massive $874. Do note that Sinem’s earnings are from almost 2 years ago. She likely had a lot fewer followers back then.

The writer with the lowest number of followers on this list is Tom Egelhoff, yet he earned almost $400.

That shows that you can make good money without many followers.

For all the writers above, the average earnings per 1,000 followers is $268 a month. Individual writers are earning from $75 to $874 per 1,000 followers.

Note that the above list only includes writers that earned over $100 a month.

The figures are likely to be skewed and inaccurate for many reasons. So don’t take this too seriously.

The number of articles written is an important metric but wasn’t considered in the above figures.

Hopefully, it will give you at least a little idea of what it’s possible to earn on Medium.

Feel free to add your own earnings and follower numbers in the comments section.

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