In his post, Om sounds a little dejected about his “open rate” in Pocket, saying that “I was only reading about a third of what I was saving.”
But fret not, Om! There is a misperception that Pocket should be treated like an email inbox, in which you have to go back to every single story or video that you’ve saved. Pocket works best if your “net consumption” is better than what it would’ve been without save for later. This means either:
You are consuming, on average, more worthwhile content than you would have without Pocket, or
You are consuming higher-quality content than you would have without Pocket.
My open rate is probably abysmal, because I am a digital hoarder. But I end up consuming exponentially more/better stories in a given day than I would have without Pocket.
It’s the Pocket activity for “Bitter Pill,” Time magazine’s (incredible, go subscribe and read it) 25,000-word story on the secret costs of healthcare in America, written by Steven Brill.
In green, you can see the daily “saves” to Pocket. In red, the daily “opens” in Pocket. Three days after the story was published, “opens” overtook “saves,” and this story has gone on to have an open rate of 50% and an active lifespan of 19 days.
When readers were given the time to come back to it, they did.
I’m excited to be working on Pocket for Publishers (to my publisher friends, go sign up! It’s free), because I think it’s finally answering some important questions about save-for-later. And it’s providing clarity to the sites that are investing in high-quality storytelling that retains its value for weeks, months, and years.