What podcast metrics matter?

Estimated read time: 3 minutes

Indeed, I care about content performance and creating cultures that work toward content performance. Podcast metrics also play a role here. After all, we want our podcasts to be found and listened to.

But what podcast metrics should we look at? There certainly are many theories and opinions on the topic, so why not add mine?

What are podcast metrics?
The biggest problems with podcast metrics
How to decide what metrics matter
The case for repurposing

What are podcast metrics?

Podcast metrics share how many people listen to or watch our podcast episodes. This can include:

  • Listens/downloads on podcast channels
  • New subscribers/total subscribers
  • The total time they watched/listened

  • Overall downloads/listens/views of all episodes
  • Audience by country

Read next: What’s the difference between podcast listens and podcast downloads?

The biggest problems with podcast metrics

The biggest problem is likely how decentralized metrics currently are. For example, my hosting platform – Anchor – gives me some metrics like:

  • Overall listens
  • Listens by episode
  • Top episodes
  • Audience by country breakdown
  • Listening platforms

I especially like looking at the top episodes metric as it gives me some ideas about what episodes are taking off. Most recently, an episode on LinkedIn newsletters climbed the charts, showing genuine interest in that topic.

top episodes according to podcast metrics

To complicate my episodes’ actual performance, I also need to keep in mind that I livestream most episodes. So those metrics come from LinkedIn, YouTube, Amazon, Twitter, and sometimes Facebook.

The show is also shown on the DB&A Television Network, which streams in the United States and is carried by dozens of international TV providers.

I keep track of all these numbers in my media kit as much as possible because that’s a more accurate reflection of the total audience.

Read next: Examples of media kits: Do I need one for my podcast or livestream?

How to decide what metrics matter

What metrics matter – as usual – depends on the goal. Some experts recommend that you look at total downloads/listens for the first 30 days after publication. Some networks and podcast hosts even track that for you. But given that I have these additional channels not included in a podcast host’s dashboard, I find the 30-day metric rule cumbersome.

In addition, most of my podcast episodes have timeless content. The Business Storytelling Show isn’t a news podcast. It’s a content strategy podcast. And some episodes take off way later than the 30-day window. Take that LinkedIn newsletter episode. It had some listens early on, then started creeping up into the hundreds and about two years after it was initially published is closing in on 10,000 listens on podcast channels alone.

So there’s long-term value for podcast content as well. Somehow, we need to account for that. So I look at my overall metrics:

  • The number of listens in the last 7 days of all episodes
  • How the last episodes performed
  • What are some highlights from the livestreams?
  • Are any new episodes creeping up into the list of the top episodes?

The case for repurposing

Certainly, there’s value in keeping an eye on how your podcast and livestream strategy is performing. Are people watching and listening? But, also consider this: What are you doing with the content after the podcast and livestream? For example, I turn many of my episodes into written articles, which perform on their own as well.

Without the podcast episodes, I would have never even gotten this content so there’s value in post-podcast metrics as well. I know, right? It’s not easy to collate the true impact of a podcast strategy when it’s made part of a truly integrated Create Once, Publish Everywhere Model.


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