Using Podcast Stats to Reach Your Desired Audience
Whether you’re creating content on behalf of a company or advancing your individual brand as a thought leader, podcasting can be an effective way to reach the audience you need to meet your business goals. In 2023, the number of podcast listeners reached 464.7 million, and all signs point to this format remaining a major source of information, inspiration, and entertainment to millions of people for the foreseeable future.
But how do you ensure that the many hours you invest in developing, recording, and editing your podcast are worthwhile for your company and any prospective sponsors? When pitching yourself or a client as a podcast guest, how do you narrow down your list of potential podcasts to those that offer the best return on your investment of time and energy? If you release a podcast episode and it doesn’t result in any downloads, does it even make a sound?
As the associate producer for the agency’s award-winning podcast, On Record PR, statistics are imperative to our strategy. Statistics enable our team to identify trends, evaluate the success of different episodes, and make informed decisions to enhance the show overall. By leveraging data-driven insights, we optimize our plans for content creation, marketing efforts, and audience growth.
Read below for an overview of podcast stats, why they’re important, and the most useful tools you can use to gauge listenership.
Why Podcast Stats Are Important
Sponsors are key to monetizing a podcast, and any potential sponsor will want facts and figures that demonstrate you are worth their investment. Information about downloads, listens, rankings, and social media presence strengthens your case. Your hosting platform will be invaluable in providing a comprehensive overview of the audience you reach.
If you are looking for opportunities to reach new audiences as a guest on a podcast, it is important to do your research. While you may not have access to the data offered by a podcast’s hosting platform, podcast apps provide helpful data about the podcasts they carry. Third-party companies also estimate analytics based on publicly available data.
Utilizing a variety of tools in tandem will help you make informed decisions about the right opportunities to pursue and how to accurately and effectively present your podcast to partners who can take you to the next level.
Podcast Hosting Platforms
The platform that hosts your podcast is likely to provide the most detailed and accurate data available about your audience reach. Here are some of the most popular:
- Libsyn. This platform provides robust data regarding downloads (the number of times an episode has been downloaded). Keep in mind that this term is distinct from listens, which is the number of times listeners have clicked the play button and listened to the content of the episode. Libsyn provides the number of total downloads for a podcast and breaks out this figure by time (week, month, or year), by location, by user agent (any program or app that delivers your content), and destination (any place that you have set up in your Libsyn account to publish your episodes).
- Buzzsprout. This platform offers data very similar to Libsyn. In addition to information about downloads broken out by time and location, it projects the number of unique downloads that can be anticipated for future episodes based on the data available for episodes already published.
- Captivate. In addition to data regarding downloads, this platform offers a stat called Unique Listeners, which counts listeners who use the same IP address and the same listening device across a selected date range. Captivate also offers a Listener Behaviour dashboard, which tracks daily downloads, the devices and apps listeners are using, and locations where the podcast is accessed.
Podcast App Platforms
When accessing data from podcast app platforms, it is important to keep in mind that these stats only reflect listener behavior within the app itself and therefore do not provide a comprehensive picture of how your entire audience is engaging with your content. They still offer some useful information that cannot be found on other platforms.
- Spotify. To see information about your podcast, log into Spotify for Podcasters. This app provides data regarding where your podcast was seen in the platform, as well as demographic information such as gender and age. Spotify tracks listens, but not downloads; it provides the number of “starts,” or listeners who have clicked on a podcast episode, and the number of “streams,” or listeners who have listened to at least 60 seconds of your podcast.
- Apple Podcasts Connect. In addition to data regarding listens, this platform reports how many listeners have listened all the way through an episode on Apple Podcasts. This can be a great tool for determining your podcast’s ability to engage your audience.
- YouTube Studio. YouTube offers detailed data regarding user behavior on its platform. It will show you how long listeners engage with your content and at what points you have lost a significant amount of audience. This kind of granular data can be very helpful in gauging what piques your audience’s interest and what might not be working.
A number of companies offer estimated analytics for podcasts. While this data may not be as detailed as that of hosting platforms and apps, it can provide a higher-level view of audience reach using information from a variety of sources.
- Listen Notes. This site offers a “Listen Score,” which is a metric that shows the estimated popularity of a podcast compared to other RSS-based public podcasts on a scale from 0 to 100. Based on this score, Listen Notes assigns a Global Rank, which is a percentage figure. These metrics are based on first-party data, such as activities on the Listen Notes website, and third-party data, such as media mentions and reviews.
- Podchaser. Those looking to gauge a podcast’s popularity can use this site to find ratings, reviews, and rankings on Apple Podcasts and Spotify. Upgrading to Podchaser Pro unlocks insights such as audience reach, listener demographics, sponsor data, and brand safety metrics that vet potential advertising opportunities.
Whether you’re a creator, a thought leader, or a publicist on the lookout for the perfect opportunity to raise your client’s profile, podcast stats are key to understanding where a podcast sits in the larger landscape. Once you know how to use the available tools, you are that much closer to connecting with the audience you want.