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Podcast Analytics: Why, How & What To Measure

Podcast Analytics: Why, How & What To Measure

Wondering how to go about improving and growing your podcast? The answer lies in making quality content your target listeners will love. 

And if you’re already using software like Riverside to guarantee studio-quality audio no matter where you record, the next step is looking at your podcast analytics. 

Getting real data on what your listeners like and how they listen is the best way to create and market engaging content for your show. 

With that said, let’s take a look at which podcast analytics you should measure, how, and what to measure them against. We’ve also included some of the top podcast analytics tools on the market and our best practices for boosting your statistics. Let’s dive right in.


Why You Should Be Measuring Your Podcast Analytics

Firstly, a recap on the many benefits of analyzing your podcast statistics. Podcast analytics allow you to:

  • See how much your listener base, streams, downloads, and subscriptions have grown.
  • Make changes to your content or podcast schedule when episodes don’t perform well in terms of listeners, reviews, and engagement.
  • Make more content that receives positive feedback from listeners.
  • Address any quality issues: a third of people claim low quality is the reason they don’t listen to podcasts. That’s 33% more listeners you could target using software like Riverside!
  • Get listener demographic, device, and location data to target ads and monetize your podcast.
  • Market yourself to sponsors and podcast networks with real data about your listeners.
  • Choose locations for potential live shows.
  • Discover potential added-value content you could create, for example, podcast transcripts (especially if your listener demographic is hard of hearing) and video podcasts, which you can start easily using Riverside.
  • Use your positive reviews from listeners in your marketing campaigns.
  • Analyze and optimize your revenue.

Which Podcast Analytics Should You Measure & How?

Number of listeners & downloads for each episode over time

When comparing unique listens and total listens, remember that unless you’re using a unique listener report, “total listens” are measured each time someone presses play. So if you’ve got a high number of listens, it can mean repeat listens or people listening to episodes in two (or more) goes, not necessarily that your audience has grown.

Furthermore, remember that subscriptions and downloads don’t necessarily mean the person has listened. Instead, look for common themes in listener peaks, make changes to content when episodes don’t perform well, and do more of what does well.

As with all data, always be wary of outliers and extreme changes in your statistics. For example, a recent data inflation issue with podcasts on Apple Watches showed much higher download rates.


When are people listening to your podcast?

If it’s not on the day you release, could you get a bigger audience releasing the episode on a different day?

Demographics, location, and device type

Use this to discover where to host live events and to pitch to local brands for sponsorships for extra monetization opportunities.

At the same time, you need to know how people are listening. Learn about your listeners’ device type and platform, and leverage this data to provide added value to these listeners. For example, if they’re listening via YouTube, you can easily create additional content like video and live podcasting using Riverside’s virtual recording studio. If they’re listening on a home speaker, your audio SEO must be up to par to ensure your podcast is accessible by voice recognition software.

Finally, make sure that the relevant CTAs are present on your website or podcast hosting site for your listeners’ preferred platforms. Make use of various platforms’ advertising opportunities.

Audience engagement

Analyze your listener drop-off rate: are people skipping over your intro or ads? Studies show podcasts lose up to 35% of their listeners during the first five minutes, so make sure your podcast intro hooks listeners! Use Riverside’s Media Board to add catchy, relevant music and sound effects to your show to help engage your audience.

Use your social media and subscription or donation site analytics as well to see how your fans interact with you outside of their podcast listening platforms. Make sure you’re engaging with them in the comments section to show you value their support.


Analyze Podcast reviews

As above, checking social media and podcast directories for your ratings and feedback from your listeners is a great way to learn about your impact. Encourage them to give feedback using “like and subscribe” CTAs and show your appreciation by actively implementing their ideas for improvement.

Revenue from ads and sponsorships

check how much you’re earning from your different ads to see where they can be optimized and better targeted. Perhaps you could start charging more for a pre-roll ad. Or, maybe your ROI is too low after spending lots of time researching and pitching to sponsors, and you’d be better off joining a podcast network.

Website traffic

Finally, analyze how people are finding your website. If it’s through SEO blogs, for example, incorporate more blogging into your podcast marketing strategy

Podcast Analytics Benchmarks

So you know how to measure your podcast analytics, now what should you be comparing them to?

  • Revenue: for beginners, getting your first sponsor is a great achievement. For seasoned podcasters, set your own benchmark based on the ROI of your equipment, software, subscription, and podcast hosting platforms. Once you’re earning your goal amount per episode, aim high: horror-comedy show Last Podcast on the Left earns over $50,000 per month from Patreon!
  • Positive reviews: this one’s very simple - the benchmark is having all five-star ratings with positive feedback. But remember, negative feedback is also really useful to know where you can improve.

Choosing The Best Podcast Analytics Tool For You

Podcast directories like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts collect statistics about the people listening to your show on their platform. They provide in-depth data about your listeners. However, if your audience tunes in across a range of platforms it can be very time-consuming to check each one separately and condense that data.

However, there are plenty of comprehensive podcast analytics services on the market that collect data from all or most podcast directories and listening platforms. The best ones are a one-stop shop for most of the statistics you need. Many of them are incorporated with podcast hosts, so it can be worthwhile choosing a podcast hosting platform that collects advanced analytics from all of your listeners.

When you’re looking into analytics capabilities, bear in mind:

  • IAB certification: the International Advertising Bureau created the Podcast Measurement Technical Guidelines to provide clarity and develop a common language around podcast analytics measurement. Choosing an IAB-certified analytics tool means your statistics will follow defined standard metrics, making it easier to benchmark.
  • Some analytics tools won’t include statistics from all podcast directories because of the way they access your show’s RSS feed. Check it includes all the directories and platforms you use.
  • All of the analytics you want to measure. For example, does the tool differentiate between unique listens, total listens, and downloads?
  • Price: decide your budget before investing in the tools that work best for you.

Let’s take a look at some of the most powerful podcast analytics tools on the market, their benefits, and price points.


Blubrry

As well as being a top podcast hosting platform that provides podcasters with a free WordPress site, BluBrry’s advanced podcast analytics are comprehensive and IAB certified. They are extensive but still easy to understand and can be exported to PDF, very useful for pitching to podcast networks.

It’s affordable: their standard plan is just $5 per month and includes comprehensive statistics, including partial and total plays, listener location, platform, and device. They also have a free plan that includes most analytics, although fields like geographic location are limited to the top 10. If you use them as a podcast host (from $12 per month), analytics are included.

BluBrry podcast analytics
BluBrry podcast analytics.


Chartable

A third-party podcast analytics tool, Chartable is dedicated entirely to collecting podcast statistics. It’s IAB certified, serves over 1 billion downloads every month, and collates podcast data into the industry’s leading podcast surveys.

Collect your quantitative and qualitative data from across podcast directories and platforms; share insights to collaborate with team members, and get real-time alerts. Their subscription tiers range from a free plan with limited statistics to $100 per month for professional analytics and custom enterprise pricing. Chartable is for podcasters who want really in-depth analytics!

Get podcast analytics email alerts with Chartable.

Podtrac

The leading podcast analytics service, Podtrac has been completely free for 15 years. They measure comprehensive statistics including detailed reports by episode, source, and country; unique monthly audience counts, and aggregated data from all directories and platforms.

Even if you track your podcast metrics elsewhere, Podtrac is a really useful free resource to give you an in-depth understanding of your audience. If you’re planning to pitch a podcast network or new sponsors, consider supplementing your reports using Podtrac’s advanced, IAB-certified data.

Podtrac podcast analytics
Podtrac’s podcast analytics.

Transistor

A podcast host geared towards networks and enterprises, Transistor provides high-level analytics that are displayed intuitively and visually. You can check episode downloads, sort your episodes by popularity, check listener location and the platform they use.

Their analytics may not be as in-depth in terms of listener drop-off, but they’re very easy to understand. It doesn’t offer statistics as a standalone feature, but with a starting price tier of $19 per month, Transistor is the best option for producers who want to manage multiple podcasts and analytics in one place.

Transistor podcast analytics overview
Transistor podcast analytics.

Sounder.fm

Another podcast host, Sounder, is designed to help boost your show’s discoverability and this is reflected in its powerful features, including advanced analytics. Measure your growth, understand audience demographics, and learn what listeners are searching for and engaging with in your content.

Again, their statistics are only accessible if you use their podcast hosting solution. As a host, they’re very affordable. Their free plan includes podcast statistics, but for just  $12.99 per month (with a discount when you pay annually), you get the more comprehensive Analytics Plus, well worth it for those looking to grow their podcast and measure listener growth.

sounder.fm podcast analytics

How To Optimize Your Podcast Analytics

Now that you’ve got an idea of the podcast analytics tools that are available, follow our best practices to boost your statistics:

  • Set yourself goals: define your KPIs and what you want to achieve (audience size, engagement, revenue, etc.).
  • Define your target audience based on the types of content that brings in the most listens and engagement.
  • Implement what you’ve learned: use the data you collect to create content your listeners have demonstrated enjoying.
  • Remember that it’s not all about quantitative data: your listeners should always be your priority, so collect qualitative feedback too (podcast reviews, social media engagement).
  • Finally, make sure you’re producing a quality podcast. Use Riverside to record studio-quality podcasts no matter where you are.


Boost Your Analytics By Producing Well-Researched & High-Quality Podcasts

Measuring your podcast analytics is a no-brainer. It provides you with real data on what you need to do to improve your content, optimize your marketing strategies, and monetize your podcast. 

By implementing the best practices listed in this article and making sure you’re creating high-quality content, you’re sure to give your podcast statistics a boost. See for yourself. Sign up for a free trial of Riverside to produce studio-quality podcast recordings and try one of the great free podcast analytics solutions mentioned here to start measuring and maximizing your success.

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