As a podcast host, your podcast hosting platform likely gives you a tonne of numbers which leaves you wondering which are the important podcast metrics that you should be paying attention to.
And yes, there are some podcast metrics that are more important than others when it comes to analysis and using those stats to grow your show.
Because you can use these metrics to inform your podcasting strategy and ultimately drive your show forward and reach more of your ideal audience. But, navigating these vast sets of data can be overwhelming, leaving many podcasters unsure of which metrics truly matter.
So, I wanted to use this post to talk about the important podcast metrics to pay attention to and which will provide you with key insights to help you elevate your podcasting game.
By delving into the world of podcast analytics, you can:
- Gain more of an insight into your audience’s likes and dislikes about your current episodes
- Optimise your marketing strategies
- Uncover potential monetisation opportunities
- Boost audience engagement
- Grow your podcasting brand
Let’s get started…
Understanding podcast metrics
Podcast metrics are essential for understanding the performance and impact of your show.
They provide valuable insights into your audience’s behaviour, preferences, and engagement levels. By analysing these metrics, you can uncover trends, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to grow your podcasting brand.
Why analysing podcast metrics is important
Analysing podcast metrics is crucial for several reasons.
First, it helps you understand who your audience is and what they want. By knowing your listeners’ demographics, interests, and behaviours, you can tailor your content to their preferences and create episodes that resonate with them.
This not only increases listener satisfaction but also helps attract new audiences.
Second, analysing podcast metrics allows you to measure the success of your marketing efforts.
By tracking metrics such as downloads, listens, and subscriber growth, you can determine which promotional channels and strategies are most effective in driving audience engagement and growth. This information helps you optimise your marketing budget and focus on initiatives that deliver the best results.
Finally, podcast metrics can provide valuable insights for monetisation opportunities.
By understanding your audience’s engagement levels, you can identify potential sponsorship opportunities, create targeted advertising campaigns, or even develop premium content offerings. These insights empower you to monetize your podcast effectively and generate revenue streams that support your content creation efforts.
Important podcast metrics to track
To analyse your podcast’s performance, it’s essential to track key metrics that provide insights into your show’s reach, engagement, and growth. And how you track these metrics is up to you.
You might want to keep a spreadsheet, Google Doc, paper graph, or a running list in a notebook.
It doesn’t matter where and how you track your metrics. The important thing is that you do track them and use the information to grow your podcast and your audience.
Here are some of the most important podcast metrics to monitor:
This is probably the metric that everyone is most familiar with and the first one you pick up on from your podcasting host (especially if you’re with Buzzsprout who sends you sweet little emails every time you hit a download milestone).
Downloads indicate the number of times your episodes have been downloaded by listeners.
This metric reflects the initial interest in your show and gives you an idea of your overall audience size.
However, it’s important to note that downloads alone do not provide a complete picture of your show’s success, as they don’t account for actual listens or engagement. Remember, some listeners might have your podcast set to automatically download each new episode that you publish, but they never actually get around to listening to it. This renders your content a little useless in this respect because nothing you say in the episode is then getting listened to.
However, if you’re interested in ranking in the podcast charts, this is the metric most commonly used to determine various podcast chart rankings.
Listens measure how many people have actually listened to your episodes.
This metric is more accurate than downloads, as it reflects the number of people who engaged with your content. However, this metric often isn’t as easy to find as your downloads.
You see, your podcast hosting platform will likely give you your total download numbers, but you’ll likely need to go into individual podcast directory platforms to get your listener stats.
This can be quite frustrating as you then need to go through multiple directories to get all of this info. But tracking listens does help you understand your show’s popularity and the level of interest your episodes generate.
For me, because my podcast is on so many podcast directories, I tend to only pay attention to where the majority of my listeners come from; Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Listen to the latest episodes of The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Podcasting:
3. Subscriber growth
Subscriber growth indicates the number of new subscribers your podcast gains over a specific period.
This metric reflects the loyalty and engagement of your audience. A steady increase in subscribers signifies that your content resonates with listeners and encourages them to stay connected with your show.
Again, you’ll need to go into individual podcast directories to get this information, because your hosting platform likely won’t collate this information for you. Again, I tend to just pay attention to the biggest two platforms where my podcast is listened to. If these stats increase on those platforms, it’s likely that this trend will be the same across other podcast directories too.
Engagement metrics measure how actively your audience interacts with your podcast.
This includes metrics such as likes, comments, shares, and reviews. Tracking engagement helps you gauge the impact of your episodes on listeners and identify areas for improvement or further exploration.
For some podcast directories, this might be tricky to gather the stats for. But for a platform such as Spotify, you can monitor engagement through features such as Q&A.
5. Episode retention
How long your listeners stick around is an important metric to keep an eye on. And it also seems to be a metric that doesn’t get talked about enough. But, in my opinion, this is one of the MOST important podcast metrics that should not be ignored.
For example, if you’re inserting mid-roll adverts, but 90% of your listeners have clicked off your episode before the 25% mark, then no one will hear your advert.
Equally, if a high percentage of listeners leave your show right after your intro, this could be telling you that you’ve not given your audience enough of a reason to stick around and listen for longer.
Episode retention is really important. Yes, if a listener has already started listening then you’ve got the download stat, but you want your audience to stick around and listen to what you’re saying, right?
Analysing listener demographics
Now that we’ve got the main important podcast metrics out of the way, we can start to look at listener demographics.
Again, you don’t need to study all of these numbers. But even just having a basic understanding of your audience’s demographics can be helpful for tailoring your content to their preferences and needs.
For example, by analysing your listeners’ demographics, you can create episodes that resonate with your target audience and attract new listeners with similar characteristics.
Here are some key demographic metrics to consider:
1. Age and gender
Knowing the age and gender of your listeners can help you create content that appeals to their specific interests and experiences.
For example, if your podcast targets young professionals, you can focus on topics related to career growth, personal development, and work-life balance. If you’re getting information telling you that you’re hitting a different age and/or gender, then this might tell you that you need to rethink the content and/or marketing of your podcast (or both!).
Analysing listener location allows you to understand the geographic distribution of your audience.
This information can help you create region-specific content or tailor your marketing efforts to target listeners in specific areas.
Analysing your audience’s interests can provide insights into the topics they are most interested in.
This information helps you create relevant and engaging content that keeps your listeners coming back for more.
Gathering the information for this important podcast metric is less straightforward than getting statistics or the name of a place from a podcasting host or directory. But by engaging with your audience via your email newsletter, social media, etc., you can get information about your listeners’ interests that can feed into your content.
Evaluating episode performance
Evaluating the performance of individual episodes is essential for understanding what resonates with your audience and what doesn’t.
By analysing episode performance, you can identify patterns, trends, and topics that generate high engagement levels.
Here are some metrics that you might want to collect to help you evaluate your episode performance:
1. Episode duration
Analysing the duration of your episodes can help you understand your audience’s preferences when it comes to episode length.
If you notice a drop-off in listens or engagement after a specific point in your episodes, it might indicate that your episodes are too long or that certain segments need to be shortened or restructured.
2. Popular episodes
Identifying your most popular episodes can provide valuable insights into the topics, guests, or formats that resonate with your audience.
By understanding what works well, you can replicate success and create more episodes that captivate your listeners.
Also, by identifying the popular episodes, you can push the episodes that ‘need a bit more love’ on social media. Sometimes people genuinely miss episodes, particularly if it’s further back in your catalogue. Remember, most people will start a podcast when they see it advertised. Not everyone goes back to episode 1.
3. Episode drop-off rate
Yes, we’ve technically already mentioned this important podcast metric, but seeing as the episode drop-off rate fits so nicely into this section, I thought it was worth another mention.
The episode drop-off rate measures the number of listeners who stop listening to an episode before it finishes.
Analysing this metric can help you identify segments or content that might be causing listeners to disengage.
By addressing these issues, you can create episodes that retain your audience’s attention and increase overall engagement.
Measuring listener engagement
Listener engagement metrics provide insights into how actively your audience interacts with your podcast. By measuring listener engagement, you can gauge the impact of your episodes and identify areas for improvement.
Some podcasters might not bother with these metrics. They tend to be linked more to social media and therefore might fall into another part of your business analysis, but they’re still worth a mention:
1. Likes, comments, and shares
Tracking likes, comments, and shares across various platforms provides insights into the level of interest and engagement your episodes generate.
Encouraging listeners to interact with your content helps build a sense of community and loyalty among your audience.
Reviews are a powerful engagement metric that can influence potential listeners’ decision to tune into your show.
Listeners can leave reviews either on a podcast directory where they have listened to your show, or as a comment to a social media post you made advertising an episode or your show.
Positive reviews not only boost your podcast’s credibility but also attract new audiences. Encourage your listeners to leave reviews and respond to them to foster a strong connection with your audience.
3. Social media mentions
Monitoring social media mentions of your podcast allows you to gauge its impact beyond traditional metrics.
By identifying conversations, trends, or influencers talking about your show, you can tap into new audiences and deepen your connection with existing listeners.
When it comes to measuring these analytics, remember that people are fickle. It takes A LOT to convince someone to spare a minute or so to leave you a review.
Think about it; when did you last leave a podcast review or a review on a social media comment just because?
Therefore, don’t be disheartened if you’re struggling to grow your metrics and data in this area. It can be tough. But, if you do get some nice reviews, these can act as great social proof on social media to promote your show.
Using podcast metrics to inform content strategy
As we’ve seen, important podcast metrics are not just about numbers. They are also valuable insights that can shape your content strategy.
By analysing podcast metrics, you can make data-driven decisions that lead to content that resonates with your audience.
Here’s how you can use podcast metrics to inform your content strategy:
1. Identify popular topics and formats
Analysing metrics such as episode downloads, listens, and engagement can help you identify topics and formats that generate high levels of interest and engagement.
By understanding what your audience responds to, you can create more episodes that cater to their preferences and increase overall listener satisfaction.
In short, make more of the content that does well, and less of the content that doesn’t.
2. Experiment with new ideas
While it’s important to stick to what works, don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas based on audience feedback and engagement metrics.
Testing new topics, formats, or guests can help you keep your content fresh and attract new listeners who might be interested in your new approach.
3. Repurpose content
Analysing podcast metrics can also help you identify episodes or segments that have performed exceptionally well.
You can repurpose this content into other formats, such as blog posts, videos, or social media snippets, to reach new audiences and expand your podcast’s reach.
You can also repurpose content ideas.
Let’s say you did an episode about how to make a cup of tea on your podcast about British beverages. Does that mean you can never talk about tea again? Of course not!
You could do a future episode about different types of tea, whether you should drink tea in a cup or a mug, and discuss having your tea with sugar, sweetener, or honey.
Ok, these are random examples (and evidence that I really like a good cuppa!), but, what I’m saying is that just because you covered a topic once, it doesn’t mean that you can never cover it again either from a different angle or at a deeper level.
Identifying trends and patterns in podcast metrics
Analysing podcast metrics over time allows you to identify trends and patterns that can inform your content strategy and marketing efforts.
By understanding how your podcast’s performance fluctuates, you can make informed decisions to optimize your show’s growth.
Some key trends and patterns to look out for might include:
1. Seasonal variations
Some podcasts experience seasonal variations in listenership and engagement.
For example, a podcast about travel might see an increase in listeners during the summer months. Or a crafting podcast might see a spike in listens around Halloween and Easter time.
By identifying these patterns, you can create seasonal content that aligns with your audience’s interests and maximises engagement.
2. Guest performance
Analysing metrics related to episodes featuring guests can provide insights into the impact of specific individuals on your show’s performance.
If episodes featuring certain guests consistently generate higher engagement levels, consider inviting them back or exploring collaborations to attract new listeners. (Yes, that’s right, you can have the same guest on your show more than once – see the point above about repurposing content.)
3. Marketing campaign effectiveness
By tracking podcast metrics during specific marketing campaigns, you can evaluate the effectiveness of your promotional efforts.
Identifying the impact of different marketing channels or strategies helps you allocate your resources wisely and focus on initiatives that deliver the best results.
Tools for gathering your podcast metrics
Several platforms and tools are available to help you track and analyse podcast metrics effectively.
Here are my top 4 tools for gathering those important podcast metrics:
1. Apple Podcasts Analytics
First up is Apple Podcasts Analytics which you can access through Apple Connect.
This platform provides you with detailed insights into your show’s performance on Apple Podcasts.
It offers metrics such as listens, downloads, and subscriber growth, allowing you to understand your audience’s behaviour and preferences.
Why do I use this platform so much? It’s because nearly half of my podcast listeners listen to The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Podcasting through Apple Podcasts (and this statistic will likely mirror in your podcast too). Therefore, I want to pay a lot of attention to where the majority of my audience is tuning in.
2. Spotify for Podcasters
The second biggest directory where my audience listens to my podcast is Spotify (nearly 30%).
Spotify for Podcasters provides podcasters with valuable insights into their show’s performance on the Spotify platform.
It offers metrics such as listens, follower growth, and listener demographics, empowering you to optimise your podcast’s reach and engagement on Spotify.
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics can be used to track website traffic generated by your podcast.
By setting up a website for your show and integrating Google Analytics, you can measure the impact of your podcast on web traffic, user engagement, and conversions.
For every podcast episode I create, there is a dedicated webpage for each episode on my blog. This is for a variety of reasons, primarily SEO.
I use Google Analytics to understand who comes to my website, where from, when, and why.
By looking at audience behaviours, I can get an idea of who my audience is and what content they are engaging with from both the podcast pages and the blog. The information I get from the blog views can inform me of which topics to turn into podcast episodes next.
4. Your podcast hosting platform
Your podcast hosting platform can provide you with a range of comprehensive analytics to track your show’s performance.
It will commonly offer you the most important podcast metrics such as downloads, audience geography, and episode popularity, helping you gain insights into your audience’s behaviour and optimise your content strategy.
I tend to dive into the metrics from my podcast hosting platform a few times a week, and at minimum once per week. This gives me a good insight into overall downloads and how well new episodes are doing.
I’ll then dive into more in-depth analytics such as those about my audience and those from individual podcast directories once per month, although you can find your own schedule for when you check and go over your various podcast metrics to suit you and your podcast.
Like any key performance indicator, analysing podcast metrics is a vital part of being a successful content creator. By understanding and leveraging these metrics, you can tailor your content to your audience’s preferences, optimise your marketing strategies, and uncover or improve potential monetisation opportunities.
Remember, podcast metrics are not just numbers; they represent the interests, engagement, and loyalty of your listeners.
And whilst we’ve gone through a whole long list of important podcast metrics, it’s important to remember that you don’t need to track every single one of the metrics mentioned.
Figure out the metrics that are important to your podcast and its growth and measure those.