10 Important Podcast Metrics to Measure Your Podcast's Success

A handsome man checking his podcast metrics

Published 5/27/2024 by Babalola Alabi

“How well is your podcast doing? What are the reactions of your audience to your podcast? What can you do to make your audience love your podcast more?” These are common questions that might run through your mind as a podcaster, especially if you have business goals for your podcast. And even if you create podcasts for fun, your instincts will still love to know how great your podcast is doing.

This is where podcast metrics come in.

Podcast metrics are measurements or data points you use to assess the performance and success of your podcasts. In this article, we’ll discuss the most important podcast metrics you should focus on, along with some actionable steps and strategies you can use to make the podcast better.

10 Podcast Metrics to Measure Your Podcast Success

Now that you know how important it is to track your podcast metrics, let’s discuss the important ones.

1. Total downloads

Total downloads is the easiest and most common podcast metric to track. It is an important metric that shows the number of times your podcast episode has been downloaded. However, total downloads is a basic and unreliable metric to focus on. That’s because the fact that someone downloaded your podcast doesn’t mean they listened to it. Podcast hosting companies usually don't have direct access to players or devices, which limits their data on play counts and multiple downloads by the same user.

2. Listener engagement

Your podcast success relies on several performance metrics, but your audience engagement is by far the most important. Unlike total downloads, listener engagements give precise data on the number of listeners, time spent listening to the podcast and drop-off rate.

For example, if most of your audience stops listening to your podcast—or there’s a high drop-off rate—at a particular podcast segment, you might have to review your content strategy or make some changes to your podcast structure. Other listener engagement data include your audience’s response rate to polls, Q&As, feedback and ratings.

When a listener's listening session on Apple Podcasts is at least 20 minutes (or 40%) of a podcast episode, the platform records audience engagements. When the listening session is at least 60 seconds on Spotify, it is recorded as “streams.”

3. Downloads per episode

Downloads per episode is a more informative metric that shows you the number of downloads each of your podcast episodes has. If the metrics say you’ve had 5000 total downloads for 50 podcast episodes, you might assume that you’ve had 100 downloads per episode. Realistically, that’s wrong. Some podcast episodes might get higher or lower download counts for some reasons, which should be studied and checked to improve your content and podcast structure.

4. Downloads over time

Downloads over time shows you how your podcast has performed over a long time. Releasing a podcast episode doesn’t mean all your audience will view and listen to it immediately. A new listener might bump into one of your latest episodes and decide to view older ones after getting hooked by the content. If you checked your downloads per episode metrics alone, you’d think the new listener listened to the old episode immediately after it was released, whereas that’s not the case. Downloads over time shows you which podcast episode has the longest shelf life and how the show has grown.

5. Subscriber

Subscribers (or followers) are people who have clicked the subscribe (or follow) button to receive automatic updates or notifications whenever a new podcast episode is released.

Most times, it shows how much people love your podcast and are willing to hop on the next episode as quickly as possible.

6. Listener countries and demographics

Tracking your listeners’ countries and demographics helps you create content that they can relate to. For several reasons like cultural interests, language preferences and regional topics, the way you’ll speak and create content for Australians will be totally (or slightly) different from that for Americans. Also, demographic data such as age, gender, and interests provide insights into who your listeners are and what they're interested in. You can create a form (using Google Forms or other websites) to get real-time data on your listener’s demographics. The form should include their age, gender, interests, occupation, and how or where they found your podcast.

7. Website traffic

Beyond your audio content, there are other metrics you can track, one of which is your website traffic. Tracking your website traffic gauges the effectiveness of your online presence and promotional efforts. If your website has high traffic, then your search engine optimisation is solid. This means when people search for podcast topics on search engines like Google, your website is one of the top websites that shows up.

8. Bounce rate

Having lots of website traffic doesn’t mean that your audience spends more time on your website. Bounce rate is a metric that measures the percentage of visitors who land on a webpage and then leave without interacting further with the site or visiting any other pages within the same site.

9. Conversion rate

Conversion rate refers to the percentage of your audience that takes a desired action after engaging with your podcast. For example, if you sell merchs and advertise them on your podcast, the conversion rate will be the percentage of people that placed an order for the merch.

10. Social media followers

This is another metric that is also worth tracking because it shows how interested your audience is in your podcast. Just like your subscriber growth, track your follower count on social media too.

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Podcast key performance indicator with idea lamp

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FAQs on Podcast Metrics

What are the key podcast metrics?

  • Listener engagement
  • Downloads per episode
  • Downloads over time
  • Subscriber growth
  • Listener countries and demographics
  • Conversion rate

How do you measure a podcast's success?

Measuring your podcast success depends on expected results and your definition of success. However, common podcast metrics that could be of great advantage include listener engagement, subscriber growth, downloads per episode and downloads over time.

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