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What is total read time?

Total read time

What is Total Read Time?

Total read time is a measure of the amount of time that people have ever spent reading your webpage. It’s one way of determining the return on investment of creating a piece of content.

Why is Total Read Time so important for professional services firms?

All time spent on non fee-earning work is precious. Total read time allows people who draft thought leadership for their clients to have a basic test if it was worth producing or not. If the piece gets read (in total) for twice as long as it took to write, then great. Three times, even better. At some firms, that figure may well need to be ten, twenty or a hundred times in order to justify the cost of production. Used alongside its neighbour Average Read Time, you can tell if a piece is too long, too short, well-liked (and shared) or gathering dust.

The economics of drafting an article need to work for your business.

Time spent not fee-earning is often qualified using different criteria for return on investment. Either TBD or your marketing team should be able to tell you if your article is well-read and has produced results.

How do you work out Total Read Time?

In Google Analytics, you can look for total read time for any of your web pages. You can also find out average read time. Using Grammarly or Word, you can also find out expected read time (for this article, this is just under two minutes).

We can show you how to gather any of this data is you like, just get in touch.

Is your article overwritten?

Take expected read time and deduct average read time. How much is this over? If it takes two minutes to read and people are spending 1 minute on it, that’s fair enough. If it should take ten minutes to read and people are spending two minutes on it, you may want to consider a different format, chunking the content, or signposting it with headings and sub-headings to improve engagement levels.

Please can I see an example?

This article took 37 minutes to write. It should take 1m38s to read. So if it gets read 20 times for an average of just under 2 minutes, then it will break even in terms of effort/reward. Clearly, the higher this figure is, the better.

We’ll update it in a few weeks’ time with the actual stats so that you can see what we mean.

Next steps

We’re running a unique writing and social media course aimed at lawyers and business professionals. Sign up here for the event on 11 December or here for the course on 30 January.


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