Podcast Listenership: 5 Key Metrics You Should Be Watching

Podcast Listenership: 5 Key Metrics You Should Be Watching

As with any content, Podcasters want to make sure that they are benefitting from all the time, effort and resources they’ve invested to create their podcasts. It’s for this reason that they need to take time to check their podcast listenership.

Simply put, listenership refers to not just how many people are listening to your podcast, but also what kind of people make up your audience. Podcasters need to make sure that they are targeting the right people with their podcast episodes, especially if they’re using it as a medium for their business’ content marketing strategy.

Whether you’ve been podcasting for some time or a complete newbie, here are 5 important metrics to monitor to gauge your listenership.

5 Key Podcast Listening Metrics

1. Subscriptions

According to podcaster Daniel J. Lewis:

“Subscriptions are how many people are subscribed to your RSS feed and will automatically receive updates from your site, including new episodes.”

A high subscription rate is a good indicator of your listenership. When someone chooses to subscribe to your podcast, it tells you that they found your episodes valuable and they want more from you.


“It's kind of a misnomer, in my opinion, to track listenership for podcasts. We should start to call it downloadership.” –The Station Wagon Podcast

Downloads, in the context of podcasting, refers to how many times an episode was listened to.

Keeping track of which episodes have the highest number of downloads is important for several reasons.

First, it tells you the effectiveness of your episode title in your podcast. According to Copyblogger, only 20% of visitors will read a blog post based on its title. The same principle applies to podcasting. No matter how valuable the information you share on your podcast, if your episode title doesn’t grab your audience’s attention, they won’t take the time to download and listen to it.

Second, the number of downloads tells you which topics your audience finds most appealing. While many listen to podcast for entertainment, majority of listeners turn to podcast to get solutions in a format they can consume more easily. By pinpointing which episodes you’ve created that’s got the highest downloads, you’re able to streamline your future episodes, making it easier to develop new content.

Finally, you can also learn more about your audience. Platforms like Libsyn tell you their age bracket of your listeners, where they’re from, what device they’re using, and what time are your episodes getting the most downloads. All these data will help you not just develop the right content, but also when to publish your episodes to maximize its reach.

3. Backlinks

“There’s no getting around it. Backlinks are important.” –Josh Staskus, B2B Growth Expert

Whether you’re hosting your podcast on your website or a third-party platform, it’s important to monitor the number and type of backlinks your podcast gets. Even if you’re getting a lot of backlinks, if the anchor texts of these backlinks are from sites discouraging people to listen to your podcast, these can hurt your listenership.

Podcast listenership

4. Social sharing

“..see how many likes, shares, retweets etc you get. Then you're measuring the effectiveness of your content, not just the number of downloads.” -Simon Dunant, Podcaster and Entrepreneur

Every podcast episode you produce has the potential to generate lots of social posts from your listeners that find your episodes useful and helpful. At the same time, it gives you the opportunity to reach out and engage with your audience, build your brand, expand your reach, and come up with ideas for your next episode.

While you can use Google Analytics and Ahrefs for this, Dunant recommends using Clammr or Podable since it gives you more insights such as likes, shares, and retweets.

5. Conversion rates

Determining this last key metric can be quite tricky with podcasting because your listeners don’t click anything on your episode.

According to Josh Staskus, a B2B growth expert, one way you can measure this is through the people you can invite as a guest to your show:

“With a podcast, you can engage with people that you would’ve otherwise never been able to get a meeting with…by simply inviting them to be a guest on your podcast. This builds a variety of strategic relationships including relationships with ideal clients, referral partners, and industry influencers.”

Simply put, when you can easily get people – particularly those you consider as influencers in your niche – to become a guest to your podcast, it means that you’ve managed to build up your listenership to a point when others are starting to take notice of you.

Tracking Listenership is a must

Having the ability to track podcast listenership should be a part of your podcasting routine. By monitoring these five key metrics, you’ll get a better and clearer picture on whether you’re getting a return on the time, effort, and resources you’ve invested towards each episode you create.

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