When you first set out to measure your podcast success, the mere idea of it might keep you up at night. You compare yourself to other people on social media and get caught in a cycle of shame. My one podcast friend recently hit a million downloads. Why aren’t I there yet? Am I missing some magic secret success ingredient? What does podcast success even look like? Is it a multi-million dollar deal with Spotify?
Chances are, there’s no one “thing” your friend is doing that you aren’t. It’s more likely they have a different audience than you, and they likely have different podcast goals.
I recently chatted with a business friend on her podcast, She Built This, about this exact topic, and I knew I had to make sure you could access it. So in this post, I’m going to help you shake off that pesky comparisonitis and start feeling excited about the podcast success you’ve had so far.
Listen to me talk through all these and more on the She Built This Podcast.
I’m breaking down 3 strategies to measure podcast success without feeling stressed out or overwhelmed because you don’t know where to start.
Make sure you read to the end because I’ve got a bonus strategy that is essential for measuring your podcast success!
3 Surprisingly Powerful Ways to Measure Podcast Success
One question that comes up for our clients regularly is this: how can I measure podcast success?
If you do a quick google on the topic, you’ll find everything from looking at your downloads to seeing your social media engagement. Those numbers can help sometimes, but there is so much more you have to take into account when you are trying to measure your own podcast success.
#1. Forget about the Podcast Downloads
If you want to have a better understanding of measuring your podcast success, you have to get past the arbitrary download numbers.
This is #1 on the list because it’s the thing almost all podcasters get caught up on. They see the downloads and decide that those are the numbers that only matter.
While it’s essential to have a pulse on the download numbers, that only tells us part of the story. As podcasters (and business owners), there’s more that we should be tracking.
When you are trying to measure your podcast success by looking only at the downloads, it can lead to giving up on your podcast before you’ve really had a chance to get it off the ground.
Did you know 90% of podcasters don’t make it to 25 episodes? My goal with all the content I create and the services we offer at Galati Media is to support you so that you don’t just become another statistic.
Instead, let’s look at the numbers for what they can actually tell us. Your downloads tells you how many people have streamed or downloaded your show.
Note: Depending on the podcast listening app, it might actually consider someone following your show as downloading ALL your episodes. That’s why the more episodes you create, the easier it is to get more significant download numbers.
So when you look at your download numbers, all you see is that someone decided to take a 2-second chance on your show.
Instead of looking at just the downloads, we should be looking at all the possible information available to us.
For example, we were looking over a client’s statistics during our monthly strategy session (every client gets them) and saw that her guest episodes were getting about half the downloads as her solo episodes. She asked if it was worth it to stop doing guest episodes entirely.
My response was this: well, is your goal in having that guest about connecting with the guest or about giving your audience content they want?
This gave the client another perspective and she realized that her goal was actually about the connection, not about the download numbers.
RELATED POST: Creating and Keeping Podcast Goals
#2. Always Go Back To Your Goals
Regardless of what your goals are, reviewing your podcast statistics is always smart. If you take the time to get clear on your goal first, though, it helps you decide which information is actually important.
So let’s break down a few popular podcast goals and how we can actually measure the podcast success based on the specific goal.
Potential Goal #1 – Get more leads from your podcast
This is one of my favorite goals and is something I specialize in. You can hear all my thoughts about the topic on my podcast, Listeners to Leads.
If your goal is to get more leads from your podcast, you’ll want to have a few key things to track this. Add a How did you find me section to your contact form so you can see how many leads are coming from your show.
Another thing you’ll want to track is your links. You can use a bit.ly to easily show how many podcast listeners are clicking on certain links. That tells you which services listed in your show notes are getting traction.
You’ll also want to ensure that the content on your show is directing people to actually work with you. Seems like a no-brainer, but a lot of podcasters forget to let their audience know how they can buy from them.
Potential Goal #2 – Interview potential leads or collaborators
This goal is something that doesn’t take a ton of effort to track. You’ll simply note how many podcast guests turned into leads or collaborators.
If you do go this route, you’ll want to ensure you are following ethical strategies and not hounding guests to become clients. That never feels good. If they can use your support, you can offer it; but I don’t think your podcast should turn into an end-to-end funnel.
RELATED PODCAST EPISODE: Finding Where Your Podcast Fits in Your Funnel with Nicole Hesse
Potential Goal #3 – Show up as an expert or thought leader
With the goal of showing up as a thought leader, you’ll want to dive deep into your download numbers. And I’m not just talking about how many people listened to each episode.
Here you want to know how much of an episode do people listen to. On Spotify, this is called the listener retention and on Apple Podcast, it’s call your average consumption. It doesn’t matter what it’s called. Put simply, it’s how much of an episode is consumed by listeners, on average.
This is important for the thought leadership goal because it can easily show you where most of your audience drops off.
Spotify Episode Performance
Apple Podcast Average Consumption
Both of these graphics above show the listener behavior on both Apple Podcast and Spotify for the same episode.
Looking this over, I can tell this solo episode was very popular. You might think that most listeners only listening to about 69% – 75% is terrible. But what you probably don’t know is that from the information I’ve gathered with our clients, most podcast episodes get about 50%-60% completion.
That means that, on average, your listener will only listen to about half of your episode. But don’t let that discourage you! If you are using your podcast to be a thought leader, you’ll want your solo episode to do better than 60%, and you’ll want to get some interactions from your audience that they are taking action on the things talked about.
Potential Goal #4 – Make an impact with your content
If your goal is to make an impact, then the download numbers may or may not be important to you. It depends on what you believe is impact.
Your impact could be toward your guests. Then the downloads don’t matter.
Your impact could be that you want to have a certain number of people listening to your message. Then your downloads are definitely going to matter to you.
Or your impact could potentially be that you want to turn those listeners into leads and make an impact on clients that way. Then you will need to look at more than just your download numbers.
These are only a few of the goals you can have around your podcast. So go ahead and take a few moments to decide what your podcast goals actually are so you can see if your show is successful or if you need to make tweaks.
Pro tip: You don’t have to pick just one goal. You can decide that you have two or three goals tied to your podcast.
#3. Get Support When You Need It
It’s easy to get stuck.
Maybe you’re putting the time in but still unable to reach your podcast goals. Maybe you’re struggling to make your podcast work the way you want it to.
It’s one thing to get stuck temporarily and feel confused about what you should be doing. But when it goes on too long, you can fall into a rut and lose your motivation to even keep the show going.
That’s what happened with my friend, Emily. She was struggling with how her show of over 200 episodes. While hitting that podcast milestone is a big deal, she wanted to focus her efforts on using her podcast to bring in more leads to her business.
After working through her statistics, listener feedback, and more, my recommendation was to start a new podcast that would have content that her potential clients would be attracted to. Her first podcast was focused too much on all the business owners, not the ones who would want her copywriting services.
So she put in the work…and in less than ten episodes, she got her first client from her new podcast!
If you’re struggling to understand your statistics or measure your podcast success, it may be time to reach out to a podcast strategist like me for guidance and clarity.
There are many ways that a podcast strategist can help:
- Creating clarity around your podcast goals
- Giving you tips, tricks, and strategies to achieve those goals
- Measuring (and celebrating) your podcast success
If you’d like to work with me, click here to book a strategy session.
Bonus! Listen to the Podcast!
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the work you’ve done for you podcast and understanding your numbers, so I have some resources to make it easier.
Over on the Listeners to Leads podcast, I have plenty of episodes where my guests and I talk about understanding your numbers and which numbers you should actually be tracking. Here are a few of my favorites:
Wrapping it up
I hope this post showed you that every step you take is a HUGE win and no one can take that away from you.
So raise your hand, reach around and pat yourself on the back! Figuring out how to measure podcast success doesn’t come easy, but you’re doing it!
Every step is getting you closer to your finish line. And at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.
So now I want to turn it over to you. Which of these strategies will you be trying first?
Let me know by leaving a comment below!