9 Podcast Metrics that Matter More than Downloads
When it comes to digging into podcast metrics, most people zoom right into focusing on download numbers. But downloads aren’t the only podcast metrics that matter!
That said, I totally get why people fixate on that number! It’s readily available from pretty much any podcast hosting platform and it’s a concrete number that tells you how many people are listening to your podcast.
Not to mention, figuring out where to look for podcast engagement metrics data can be overwhelming and confusing. After all, the more downloads your podcast has, the better that is for your podcast. Right?
Well, yes. But also, you can learn so much more about your podcast and turbocharge your success if you check out other podcast statistics – like engagement rates, website visits, and podcast listener statistics.
So today, we’re breaking down the other podcast metrics that matter for measuring your podcasting success … And how they can give you inside insight into how to build even better relationships with your audience. Let’s go!
What does a successful podcast look like?
And how can you be REALLY sure your podcast is actually thriving?
Of course, our brains automatically bring up being #1 or a “top-rated” podcast in a category. And that is definitely one (really AH-mazing) measure of success. I mean, don’t get me wrong – if I had a #1-rated podcast, I would be shouting it from the rooftops!
But here’s a podcasting secret many people never know: you do not have to be a top-rated podcast to be successful.
Even if you have 50 or 100 listeners each week, that’s HUGE! If you were standing on stage and giving a speech in front of 50-100 of your ideal clients every other week… that would be a seriously incredible opportunity.
Ultimately, you get to decide what “success” looks like for your podcast. And that’s all about setting realistic goals. So, what are you hoping to get out of podcasting?
What would feel like a “win” for you?
Growing your brand’s know, like, and trust? Booking more consistent business? Growing your email list?
Winning at podcasting looks different for different people. That’s why getting a well-rounded view of all of your podcasting metrics is so important!
Download numbers only give you one piece of the puzzle.
While raw download numbers give you information about one angle of podcasting metrics, there’s so much they don’t tell you.
Is your podcast growing at a consistent rate? Which types of people are listening to your podcast? Which episodes are really clicking with listeners?
Digging into a variety of podcast metrics helps you track your growth and serve your audience better… It can even help you partner with sponsors or other podcasters, because they’ll want to know all those listener statistics and engagement numbers, too.
Podcast metrics to track
There are a ton of podcasting statistics you can gather about your show – so let’s talk about some you may want to consider!
As we mentioned before, this podcast metric is the one people usually look at first! It tells you the number of times your podcast has been downloaded to a mobile device so someone can listen to an episode.
And growing podcast downloads are definitely something to celebrate! They tell you a lot about how popular your podcast is. It feels SO good to see a podcast you’ve worked so hard on hit the first 50, 100, 1000 downloads and beyond.
Pro tip! You can also check out the time of day people download your podcast. Try out different release times to see if publishing at a certain time of day spikes your download rates!
Follows & Subscriptions
Even though follows & subscriptions sound like the same thing, did you know that these two actions listeners can take are very different? Subscriptions are a paid option for listeners to get access to premium or paid podcast content.
For public podcasts, the metric you’ll want to check in on is follows. Follow numbers are the podcast metrics that tell you the number of listeners who have signed up to be notified every time an episode drops. Major listening platforms like Apple and Spotify will tell you how many follows your podcast has racked up.
Listeners per episode
This podcast statistic goes beyond downloads to tell you how many people are actually listening to your podcast after they download it. You can find these numbers in Apple Podcasts Connect and Spotify for Podcasters.
Knowing which episodes of your podcast are getting the most plays is a goldmine of information about which kind of content your audience loves.
When you narrow down which episodes your podcast listeners consider the cream of the crop, you can hone in on repeating that kind of content in the future! Consider whether the top episodes have anything in common.
Hint: it’s not always the topics! It could be the episodes where you’ve invited a guest onto the show, experimented with a different format, or hit a sweet spot on episode length.
Podcast engagement metrics
Deep-diving into the way people are listening to your podcast can also tell you important information about what your show is doing right (and where you could improve).
The episode completion or consumption rate lets you know how many listeners are finishing the entire episode – or how long they’re sticking around before moving on. If listeners are sticking around all the way to the end, then you know your topics are resonating with your ideal audience. But if you see people consistently bailing at the 20-minute mark when your show is 40 minutes long… Maybe it’s time to follow the data and make shorter episodes!
Skip rates can tell you if there’s a part of each episode (or entire episodes) that listeners pass over. If you notice a trend, then re-evaluate your content plan and adjust accordingly.
Podcast listener statistics
Understanding the demographic information of your audience – like their age and location – can help you tailor your podcast content to your audience. You might even have an a-ha moment about a new offer in your business that podcast listeners would love!
Another listener statistic to watch is Unique Listeners. This podcast metric measures the number of individual people who are tuning into your podcast. It’s the most accurate way to calculate how many listeners are tuning into your podcast! If you notice a consistent unique listener number over a several episodes, congrats! That means you have a dedicated listener base.
If you’re a Buzzsprout user, you’ll be able to see which apps and devices listeners use to tune into your episodes. Spotify for Podcasters provides more in-depth demographics for listeners on their platform. You can also piece together more listener data from social media and Google Analytics website data.
People tune into your podcast from diverse listening platforms and services… And you can track that! You can even tap into device data that tells you whether people listen from their phone, laptop, or Alexa.
What you learn can show you where to focus growth efforts on the backend of your podcast. Are the embedded players on your blogs or episode descriptions getting a lot of love? Invest more in SEO and content repurposing to funnel people to your website and podcast!
Networking & referrals
If you started a podcast to bring more business to your (virtual) doorstep… Is it happening? Ideally, you’ll notice an uptick in new leads and referrals once your podcast is established.
Add a section to your contact form that asks people how they heard of you to see how many leads your podcast is bringing in. If you want to go the extra mile, create a special offer or landing page for podcast listeners, then track the results.
Pro tip! It’s also a GREAT sign if more people start pitching themselves to you as a guest – that means they’ve found your podcast and loved what they heard!
Social media and websites
This one has nothing to do with your podcast audio, but it’s still important! Podcasting is all about building know, like, and trust. And when you’re succeeding, you’ll notice the positive effects in places other than podcasting! Keep an eye out for an uptick in website traffic and engagement with social media posts.
Listener feedback and reviews
Once your podcast builds an audience, your listeners will tell you how you’re doing! Here at Leah Bryant Co., we create surveys for each client and pop them right into each episode description to gain regular in-depth listener feedback.
For a broader view, check your ratings on each listening platform, your emails, and DMs.Direct listener feedback is a treasure trove of insights on what your audience loves more and would love to see in the future!
Podcast analytics tools
So, how do you find all these podcast metrics? Most podcast listener statistics can be found in your podcast hosting service or via the major listening platforms. But your social media accounts, email, and website traffic data are great sources, too!
If you want to dig deep into your audience demographics, listening behavior, and episode performance, consider using podcast analytics tools. My fave is Chartable. They go beyond what you can piece together on your own to give you a comprehensive picture of your podcast metrics.
Podcast metrics go beyond download numbers!
There are so many ways to measure the overall success and growth of your podcast. So define what success looks like to you – and then upgrade your podcast metrics outlook to set your sights on what matters most!
And remember, your podcast listener statistics are always changing! Set a consistent check-in schedule and incorporate what you learn to make every episode even better than the last.
Podcast metrics stopping you in your tracks?
We provide comprehensive podcast management services that set you up for podcasting success – and help you track those metrics that keep it going! Contact us for help.