10 Podcast Metrics Every Host Needs to Know

10 Podcast Metrics Every Host Needs to Know

You just put out a new podcast episode. You spent a lot of time on this one, and to be honest, you’re pretty darn proud of it. It’s really going to kill it with your audience.You finally upload your podcast after working late into the night, and then head to bed. When you wake up, you head to your computer and…do what?

You probably want to know how many people downloaded your podcast. But wouldn’t you like to know how many of your listeners actually listened to the podcast, not just downloaded it? Don’t you need to know where new subscribers came from? Maybe that guest post you just submitted really boosted your podcast…or maybe it didn’t.

That’s why you need to test your assumptions with solid statistics. And while numbers on a screen might not necessarily give you the magic formula for what the next big hit on your show will be, it can sure point you in the right direction. And just like you need to be familiar with the legend on a map before heading out on a hike, it’s important for every host to know the 10 most basic podcast stats.



The current holy grail metric of podcasts is how many times your episode was downloaded. This gives you the 30,000 ft view on the success of your show. Just like pageviews give you a rough idea of the readership of your blog, the number of downloads on your podcast are an indicator of interest. It can be useful but there’s a huge, mammoth, 800 lb gorilla problem with just looking at downloads. Just because your episode was downloaded does not mean it was listened to. Isn’t it time you had that information?

2. Subscribers

Subscriptions measure the size of your fan base. In other words, who are the listeners who come back constantly? A stable and consistent subscription base is a good sign that listeners are engaged in your show. Who doesn’t want to have more subscribers?

3. iTunes reviews

iTunes is the most popular place to listen to podcasts and iTunes reviews are an important marketing tool in your toolbox. Furthermore, iTunes ranks their podcasts according to downloads (which are not publicly shown in the app). Your standing in iTunes, as well as the strength and number of reviews on your podcast page, can go a long way toward making or breaking your show. These reviews are powerful social proof that add credibility and you can borrow and use them for other promotional activities across your business.


4. Demographics

In an international world, you can’t just assume that all your listeners are from your native country, or even that they’re all native English speakers. While the majority of podcast fans live in the United States, international listeners are a rapidly growing segment of the global podcast audience. Knowing the popular locations for your podcast can certainly influence how you market it, so this information is very important.

5. Platforms

Do you have listeners who use Android devices? What about members of the audience who like to stream your podcast through a browser while at work? This stat may be more relevant for mature podcasts, but it could reveal hidden issues. For example, if Mac users don’t use your streaming player while Windows users do, perhaps there is an issue with browser support for your podcasting software.

6. Networks

iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, and Podbay are the most popular podcast “networks”. This is important to know because bolstering your listenership on these different networks will require different strategies. For example, if you find that most of your listeners are listening through Stitcher, that will change how you promote your podcast versus if everyone was listening through iTunes.

7. Trends

This sort of lines up with downloads, but is really a refinement of that statistic. Just like Facebook can tell you when your fans are most active, this stat tells you what day and hour your podcasts are downloaded most. You can use that info to adjust your publishing times to get some extra traction.

8. Engagement

How many users have finished listening to your episodes? Do some users listen more than once to the same episode? Is there a break-off time when a user stops listening? All these questions are important, but can be only answered if we have streaming metrics. That information has to be captured somehow, and some of the bigger podcasting networks don’t collect it for you.

9. Social impact

We live in a social media world, and it’s important to know if your content is getting attention on the major platforms. If your stuff does really well on Facebook, but not Twitter, then you can use that information to optimize your content even more for Facebook to take advantage of your popularity there. It all starts with the proper awareness.


10. Traffic sources

Did that guest post on a major industry blog get a lot of people to join your podcast? Don’t you want to be sure? Identifying traffic sources for your podcast is an important part of a successful promotional strategy. Many podcast hosts are also writing a significant amount of content on a weekly basis. Whether it’s emails, guest posts, or social media posts, all that content can play a role in bringing in more listeners. It’s critically important to know what is working and what’s not so you can properly direct your marketing efforts. If guest blogging is really bringing in tons and tons of new visitors, then you may make the choice to focus more on that promotional tool in the future.

These metrics provide a lot of insight into measuring growth, but unfortunately, the standard offering for these analytics from the major podcast providers is severely lacking. Where is the Google Analytics of podcast metrics? If a sponsor is looking at your podcast, they need to see the potential return on investment your show offers. Having the proper data can really demonstrate that it will be a hit with the sponsor’s audience.

CastSource is ready to give you the data you need to land that sponsorship deal. By providing engagement reports that stop the guessing, we can help you know the facts about your podcast. Subscribe to our newsletter today to learn more about how you can gain that competitive edge for your show.


About Evaldas Miliauskas

Evaldas Miliauskas is the founder of CastSource - a startup that provides transcriptions designed for podcasts. He is a passionate podcaster listener, host, and a entrepreneur.

Entries by Evaldas Miliauskas