When Web Surfers Save An Article to 'Read It Later,' Do They Really... Read It Later?

A Look at the Authors With the Highest Return Rates on Read It Later

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Yesterday we looked at the "most saved" authors on Read It Later, the content-saving service that just surpassed 4 million users. (Read It Later's basic product pitch: "One reading list, everywhere you are. Read at home, work, on the plane, or during your commute; even without an internet connection.") The post closed with a question: "So to what extent do Read It Later users remember to come back to stuff they've saved and actually... read it later?" Today, an answer for some of the most-popular authors on Read It Later.

Read It Later shared the chart below with AdAge.com. It's part of a larger study on Read It Later usage, by Coco Krumme and Mark Armstrong, available in full on Read It Later's blog.

Drew Magary of the Gawker Media sports blog Deadspin is the return-rate champ with 83% -- meaning that 83% of the time, Read It Later users who saved his stories actually came back to them, while Magary's Deadspin colleague, Barry Petchesky, who takes third place in the ranking, has a return rate of just under 80%. The other authors in the Top 5 -- Alan Sepinwall of HitFix, Tyler Tschida of AppAdvice.com and Lester Hains of The Register -- also have return rates exceeding 75%. (These numbers are for the six-month period from May through October 2011.)

Some additional context from Krumme and Armstrong on the full chart below:

The most interesting thing isn't just that we found different authors for the top return rate, but also different categories of content and types of publishers. Top saves were focused on how-to and tech content (a likely side effect of our largest user group being early tech adopters -- because, hey, even at 4 million users, we're still 'early'), but the authors with the strongest reader loyalty included writing about sports, general news and gaming.

Simon Dumenco is the "Media Guy" media columnist for Advertising Age. You can follow him on Twitter @simondumenco.

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