Whether you’re brand new to podcasting or a seasoned podcast veteran, it is never too late to start tracking your podcast success the right way. While there is an extensive list of important metrics that can help you understand your audience and focus your methods, we’ve narrowed our list down to the top five key performance indicators (KPIs) for tracking your podcast success.
1. Unique Listeners
Unique listeners are the number of individual people or devices that have played one of your episodes. This number paints an accurate picture of how many different people are listening to your podcast—no interpretation, just one number. This metric, while similar, is different from “total listens.” Total listens indicates how many times the play button is pressed, including multiple plays on one device. While both are important, unique listeners are going to better express the reach of your podcast, and most podcast streaming platforms will be able to show you this metric.
2. Subscribers and Downloads
Viewing your subscribers is essential to help you understand how well your podcast is enticing your listeners to subscribe. This metric can also be an indicator of some important behaviors in your listener base. For example, of your unique listeners, what percentage is subscribed and not subscribed? This might give you a sense of how many new listeners you’re reaching from marketing your podcast and how many are loyal fans that have been around since episode one.
Downloads are an important metric to examine alongside your other data. Listeners can press play without ever subscribing, and subscribers can be subscribed without ever listening to or downloading an episode. By placing downloads side-by-side with your other KPIs, you can further enhance your understanding of podcast success. Most podcast streaming platforms will provide subscriber and download data, though high-profile ones like Apple Podcasts will offer more complex analytics like subscriber percentages and downloads-by-platform.
3. Rankings and Reviews
In the same way that word-of-mouth is still considered an essential marketing tool for any business, think of rankings and reviews as digital word-of-mouth for your podcast. When a listener leaves a ranking or review of your podcast, that means they reacted strongly enough, either positively or negatively, that they felt inclined to inform the entire streaming platform of their reaction. It boosts your credibility to other potential listeners and increases your exposure on your podcast platforms.
4. Social Sharing
Each podcast episode you produce has the potential to be shared directly to social media from the streaming platform. Social sharing metrics are an invaluable KPI because they measure the effectiveness of your show and your listeners’ willingness to engage with it, expanding your reach to new listeners. It also gives you the opportunity to connect with your listener base where they are, outside of the podcast itself. Social sharing is harder to measure because most podcast streaming platforms don’t provide these numbers, but there are a number of third-party podcast analytics services that can track social insights for your podcast.
5. Episode-by-Episode Metrics
While KPIs one through four applies more to your podcast as a whole, you should also examine episode-by-episode to get the entire picture. Analyzing your numbers from one episode to the next helps you better understand the value of your podcast over time. By taking a look at your top-performing topics and titles, average listen times per episode, and even listener geography by episode, you can gain a real sense of how your podcast has improved over time and the extent of your audience base. Some of the more popular podcast streaming platforms like Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts Manager will show you important episode numbers like unique devices per episode and “meaningful” plays per episode.
We’ve broken down the top five KPIs to track your podcast success, but there is a wide range of important analytics to help understand your listeners and improve your podcast success. If you’re ready to produce a podcast with a team that knows the numbers, reach out to us today!