With over 464 million listeners and counting, it’s no secret that podcasting is a major industry. From podcast downloads to listener demographics, analyzing podcast metrics allows you to measure success and strategize ways to climb the charts. Here’s a beginner’s guide to podcast analytics, including which metrics to track and how.
- What Are Podcast Analytics?
- Why Should You Be Measuring Podcast Analytics?
- Which Key Metrics Should Podcasters Track?
- Where to Find Your Podcast’s Analytics
- Best Podcast Analytics Tools
What Are Podcast Analytics?
Podcast analytics are practical data sets that deliver insight into how your podcast is performing. Typical analytics include listener demographics, which episodes are top performing, reviews and ratings, and more. Much of this data relates to the number of downloads and streams your podcast receives, so it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
- Downloads: The number of times a podcast’s file is transferred to someone’s device.
- Streams: The number of times a podcast is listened to directly from the source website (often for 60+ seconds).
Why Should You Be Measuring Podcast Analytics?
For starters, podcast analytics are a starting point to success. All podcasts have analytics, and knowing how many people are listening, where they’re listening from, and what episodes they’re listening to can help you better understand your audience and make strategic decisions to grow your podcast. Here’s why it’s crucial to track analytics for your podcast.
Serve Your Audience
Taking shots in the dark can be helpful if you can’t decide on a starting point, but making tactical decisions to include more audience-approved feedback can help your podcast in the long term. Identify which episode structures, podcast topics, descriptions, and guests resonate most with your audience by evaluating how engagement levels differ across episodes. Consider direct feedback and take into account podcast ratings and reviews they’ve left—whether their feedback has to do with improving listener experience or podcast content. You’ll want to optimize your content based on what episodes perform the best, or what demographics your podcast predominantly serves.
As a beginner podcaster, you might not have access to ratings and positive reviews yet, which can majorly contribute to your podcast’s engagement metric. Looking at your podcast’s actual engagement metrics can help with this—including noting how long your average listener is engaged or which topics hold their interest, rather than simply pique it. Watch how engagement is affected by podcast episode length and publishing frequency to see if your audience as a whole has certain preferences like downloading times, top podcast directories they stream your episodes on, or attention spans. In particular, see how these engagement and duration metrics are affected on episodes using different audience-building strategies like episode swaps and hosting a guest interview.
Keep Tabs on Podcast Developments
Tracking podcast growth is essential as it showcases both short and long-term success while cluing you in to potential pain points to solve, such as a stalled listener base. General monitoring of podcast analytics also enables you to anticipate areas you may need to improve ahead of time, allowing you to avoid podcaster burnout and take advantage of repurposing podcast content. Once you determine areas that need improvement, you can begin formulating a plan to produce more engaging content for your listeners.
Improve Marketing Tactics
Actionable data not only allows you to refine your podcast marketing strategy, but also create a more effective one. Demographic information about your podcast’s listeners, like age, gender, and location, can lead you to curate marketing efforts like email blasts that actually resonate with your audience. Examine how promoting your podcast on social media or creating a website for your podcast affects the number of subscribers and downloads you receive to hone in on the most effective marketing strategies for your audience.
Measure Your Monetization Potential
Podcasting can be both time consuming and resource intensive, especially for beginners. Keeping an eye on podcast analytics like the number of listeners and downloads you receive can help you determine the monetization potential of your podcast—whether you’re hoping to gain podcast sponsorships or grow an audience of paid subscribers. A consistent listener base demonstrates that you know how to create engaging content, which sets you up to be able to earn additional income from your podcast.
Which Key Metrics Should Podcasters Track?
While podcast KPIs (key performance indicators) can vary based on your goals, there are a few common metrics that serve as industry benchmarks. Here are the most important podcast metrics to track and how to track them.
Offering information on who your audience is and what they enjoy, listener demographics allow you to conduct targeted research and curate your podcast to match their interests and needs. Statistics describing the characteristics of your listeners includes identifiable data like age, race, gender, ethnicity, device usage, and more. Some analytics tools even offer insight into “time of day” plays, which you can use to determine the most effective episode release schedule on each platform.
Perhaps an obvious mention, but monitoring your listener growth metric and maintaining a healthy growth rate is critical for assessing the long-term sustainability of your podcast. A growing rate of subscribers and followers on your podcast network profile, as well as social media platforms, indicates your content can attract new listeners and retain existing ones. Monitor downloads over a specified timeframe, such as the first week of an episode’s release. Gather an idea of whether you’re gaining or losing unique listeners, and alter your podcast strategy according to your findings.
This metric refers to how long your audience listens to an episode of your podcast. Knowing the average consumption time helps you edit podcast episodes to an ideal length to keep listeners engaged and discover which podcast format works best for you. Analytics tools can further help inform you of blanks or gray areas in engagement, from retention rates to starts, stops, and skips. Episodes with the least amount of skips and drop-offs—especially at typical skipping points (like introductions and ad reads)—can indicate what tactics keep listeners’ attention.
Total Downloads & Listenership
Analytic tools offer specific and relevant data like unique downloads, total downloads, and downloads per episode. While podcast download stats help provide a general sense of your podcast’s current popularity, streaming data gives you a better idea of how many unique listeners actually engaged with your content. It’s best to prioritize unique listener analyses because it offers a clearer picture of your audience’s engagement and loyalty.
Top Performing Episodes
Analytics can sort your episodes in ascending or descending order, allowing you to easily see what’s earning the most listens (and the least). Viewing your top-performing episodes, or those with the most listens, can show you what content is most successful and help you make data-driven decisions about how to structure future episodes. Comparing low-performing episodes with your top podcast episodes can provide insight on why one episode succeeds where another does not (subject, length, guest, etc.). You can also review geographic data to see what episodes perform better in particular regions.
Reviews & Ratings
While positive podcast reviews and ratings can give your podcast a competitive edge, there are plenty of other benefits to analyzing these metrics in terms of production. They provide critical feedback that enables you to address questions and otherwise improve your listeners’ satisfaction in the future. Take time to learn about your audience’s opinions and preferences, recognize their thoughts, and implement feedback to create better content.
Where to Find Your Podcast’s Analytics
Most major podcast directories have free dashboards that allow you to view key metrics like total listeners, downloads, and more. Here are a few of the most popular podcast directories and the insights that come with their free podcast analytics tools.
Home to more than 2.5 million podcasts and a swathe of curated collections for dedicated fans of specific genres, Apple Podcasts‘ analytics compares performance across episodes. The site’s analytics can be accessed from their internal dashboard, Apple Podcasts Connect. This creator dashboard manages important podcast information like how many followers you earned over the last month and how many listeners you have in particular countries and cities, along with with average listeners, top episodes, and more.
A large-scale directory, Google Podcasts has over 500 million downloads powering the discovery and playback of podcasts through apps on Android, iOS, and other Google devices and services. Verified publishers can gain insights into listener trends and behavior by using Google Podcasts Manager. Podcast performance metrics can be seen on show-level charts that detail plays and minutes played, or episode-level charts which provide data on audience retention by episode. You can even browse top search terms and device breakdowns to refine your podcast SEO.
One of the premier modern platforms for audio streaming services, Spotify has over 570 million users and roughly 5 million podcasts. Spotify for Podcasters is an all-in-one program with access to free creation, analytics, and engagement tools. Keep track of podcast growth metrics like play counts, audience retention, and basic demographics. Or deepen your connection to your audience by understanding their preferences with interactive Q&As and listener polls.
Best Podcast Analytics Tools
While podcast directories have plenty of options for analytics, podcast analytics tools can produce more in-depth, actionable insights. Perhaps more notably, these analytics tools often collect data across several directories, rather than just one. These are some of the best free podcast analytics tools available for beginners.
- Price: Free or subscriptions starting at $5/month
- Experience Level: Beginner
Blubrry not only acts as a podcast host, but seamlessly integrates with other hosting platforms to provide beginner podcasters with reliable analytics. Their podcast analytics tool, Blubrry Podcast Statistics, is specifically designed to help you measure podcast performance in easy-to-understand ways. They pay special attention to unique IPs and duplicate requests to help provide accurate data that isn’t inflated. This includes play trends, apps and devices used, and more. You can even utilize podcast listener surveys to gain a snapshot of your audience’s demographic data and listening preferences.
- Price: Free or subscriptions starting at $50/month
- Experience Level: Intermediate
Chartable‘s main focus is to provide podcast analytics that detail the effectiveness of your podcast content and advertisements. Directly integrated with Spotify, Chartable can measure specific metrics like confirmed plays, episode consumption, and demographics. Their service comes with unlimited SmartLinks, which are trackable URLs designed to route listeners to your podcast on their favorite apps, allowing you to see which marketing channels drive the most downloads. Chartable Connect, their internal database, makes it easy for publishers to search for and connect with other podcast creators for cross-promotion opportunities.
- Price: Free or subscriptions starting at $9/month
- Experience Level: Beginner
Podbean is a hub for beginner-friendly podcast monetization, distribution, and analysis. Their service breaks down advanced analytics like all-episode downloads, time of day listens, download sources, and user retention. Metrics about audience demographics, including geographic location and what apps listeners use to access your podcast, are also provided. Podbean makes it easy to separate your data into categories for additional insights, whether you want to see analytics classified by time period or by episode.
- Price: Free or subscriptions starting at $20/month
- Experience Level: Intermediate
Podtrac is a podcast analytics company dedicated to providing industry-standard measurement data for podcast publishers, including major brands like NPR. Their free plan accommodates unlimited downloads and shows, providing demographic insights and Podcast Traffic Measurement reports with unique monthly data. In addition, Podtrac tracks dynamically inserted ads (DAI) and baked-in (embedded) ads, so you can stay on top of leads and plan monetization strategies. Printable reports are also supplied so you can monitor your podcast’s growth.
Whether you’re growing your podcast or fine-tuning its content, Hurrdat Media offers professional podcast services and an in-house media network designed to help you distribute your show and grow your audience. Contact us today to learn more!