5 Numbers You Need to Know for Your ShowFeb 08, 2023
Unless you're a math person, tracking podcast metrics probably seems like a daunting task, but it's an important one. If you're not tracking the correct numbers for your show, you don't have the whole picture of your impact on your audience. Of course, it can be difficult to know which numbers matter and which don't. Today we'll talk about 5 key numbers to track and how they can help direct your show's content & growth strategy.
Finding the information you need to track can be a challenge if your podcast host doesn't offer the right support, but the metrics we'll discuss here are available on Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, so be sure to check if your host pushes you show to these platforms.
Our host of choice, Podcastics, pushes your podcast out onto all the major players so we can access stats from the big three. You can also find great metrics on the video version of your show if you publish to YouTube.
Here are the top 5 metrics you should be tracking for your show and why they're important:
Subscribers/Followers - This number matters because it measures how many truly dedicated fans you have. The most subscribers, the more people you have who see your show's new episodes pop up in their podcast player every time they open it. This number should increase each month. If it's not, this is a sign that you may need to get better at promoting your show on other channels, and you can consider adding a reminder to subscribe to your show at the end of every episode.
2. Plays - The number of times an episode of your show has been played. This is different from subscribers because not every subscriber listens and not every listener subscribes. The goal with this number is simply to see steady and sustained growth. If you aren't seeing growth here, or your growth rate is slow, this is a sign that you should look deeper into the other metrics that follow. Slow growth or a plateau could indicate that no new people are listening to your show, that your show's content no longer appeals to your ideal audience, or that you're losing listeners.
3. Plays per episode - The number of times an individual episode has been played. This number gives you two great pieces of information. First, this gives you an indication of whether new subscribers jump in to the latest episodes or start back in the beginning. This number also indicates whether a certain episode topic appeals to your audience. An episode with an abnormally low or high number of listens means you've hit on a dud or a hot topic, respectively. This can help direct your content strategy for future episodes.
4. Duration of listen/Play length - This tells you how much of each episode your listeners heard. If most of your episodes get 99 or 100% listen, then your fans are with you until the end! But, listen durations of around 50% are common. This helps direct your content strategy in two ways. If your fans are consistently dropping out halfway, that means you aren't holding their attention or your episodes are too long. You could consider cutting the length of your episodes or finding a way to entice them to stay to the end. This is also a reminder to put your most valuable content at the beginning of the episode before your listeners drop off.
5. Search terms (only available for shows on Google podcasts) - While Google is the only podcast host that provides this information, this is hugely valuable information for understanding how new listeners can find you.
Most podcasts will show up in search results for terms that are in or similar to their title (ie: Social-Savvy Introvert shows up for terms "social savvy" "social introvert" "introverts social") but they can also show up for terms related to their genre, topic, or episode titles. There are two things to keep in mind with this information. One, make sure your show is appearing in search results for terms that truly relate to your show, and if it's not, consider how you can improve your show's SEO. Two, search terms can give you great insight into what your audience is interested in so you can create more content they'll love.
What does this mean for me?
For Podcasters: Year-end is a perfect time to get familiar with your metrics. Visit your podcast host or podcast players and compile the above data into a snapshot of where you are right now. Then, set a date each month to check in and measure your progress. Steady growth is the goal, but you can also set specific number you'd like to hit to give yourself targets to work toward with your promotion efforts.
For VAs: Compile this data for your podcasting clients, then help them set and work toward hitting specific growth goals. Many of the tasks we teach VAs to do - from writing high-quality show-notes to all the social media & email promotion - will help your clients achieve their goals. And when you can show them, in concrete numbers, that your work is helping their growth, you can make your services an invaluable part of their team.
If you're a member of the Podcast VA Training, there's a session in our Bonus Content Library on how to find, track, and analyze these stats. Find the Bonus Content Library in your Podcast VA Association Dashboard, or search for the link in the Podcast VA Connection community. If you're not yet a VA member of the Association, click here to get on the waitlist for our next enrollment period.
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