What are your metrics of success? Are downloads everything? How can you use your podcast data? Whether launching a new podcast or working to grow your audience, Nicole Walker walks us through everything about podcast analytics, from the common misconceptions to how you can monetize as a new and independent podcaster. She is an award-winning influencer, founder of WinHers UnitedPodcast, and a success strategist who helps Women of Color improve personally and professionally. Podcast analytics is one of Nicole’s superpowers, and today she joins us to share how we can make better decisions about the data we receive from these numbers.
Demystifying Podcast Analytics with Nicole Walker
“Once you know better you have the opportunity to do better.” – Nicole Walker
What are some of the misconceptions podcasters have about podcast analytics?
There are so many misconceptions around podcast analytics, so for now I will call out four. One of the biggest misconceptions that podcasters have about podcast analytics is that downloads are the only thing that matters. This is NOT true! There is so much insight that can be obtained from analyzing your podcast data, downloads just tend to be the one everyone thinks about first.
Another misconception podcasters have is that they need thousands of downloads per episode to obtain sponsorship. This is also NOT true! Your overall reach and influence can be determined with many different data points, there are some podcasters who have acquired sponsorships before they started their podcast. Then there are some podcasts who believe that they don’t need to be concerned with podcast analytics. Again, NOT true! Podcast analytics tell you some extremely valuable information, and it is smart to use this data to make informed decisions.
Lastly, many podcasters think their downloads define the success of their podcast, LIES. I like to remind people that numbers do not define you, they just paint a picture. Anyone that knows about art, knows that pictures can be interpreted in many different ways.
What other things can we measure besides downloads?
Your podcast data can tell you which topics resonate best with your listeners. You can calculate your percentage of growth. You can measure the reach of your podcast nationally and internationally. You can measure your content accumulation by hours and minutes. Also, please remember that data is not just numbers. Taking into consideration the reviews, DMs, and emails you receive about your podcast is VERY important. This is direct feedback which if you ask me is the most valuable measurement.
How can we use data to make better decisions?
Something that is very popular amongst podcasters right now are live shows. Using your podcast data can help you determine which location or locations you should host a live event. Initially you may want to make it easy for yourself and have an event in the area you live; however, if your podcast data shows that the majority of your listeners are somewhere else then it makes more sense to go to that location.
Many podcasters also wonder what they should talk about on their podcast. Well instead of playing the guessing game, you can check your analytics to see which episodes have performed the best in the past, this gives you direct insight into what your listeners want to hear. You can use this to come up with show topics. Your podcast data will help you give the people what they want.
How can we leverage podcast analytics to grow our audiences?
Promote, promote, promote. I believe in celebrating both the small and large wins. Celebrating the anniversary of your podcast, the number of countries your podcast is in, and the number of episodes you have released is a great way to grow listenership. I’ve learned that people usually follow the crowd. If you can show that there is a crowd to follow, it entices people to want to know more. I’ve also learned that people respect longevity and persistence, showing that you have “skin in the game” is also a great way to increase listenership.
Creating an email and/or social media campaign for your podcast is also a great way to grow your audience. Podcast analytics can come into play here when determining your promotional schedule. My advice is always to target campaigns when listenership drops, which can be determined by your podcast downloads data. If you are a seasonal podcast, then extra promotion is definitely beneficial during your off seasons. If you do not have off seasons, then check out the days of the week when your podcast listenership declines, and target those days or the days leading up to those dates for your campaigns.
How can podcasters leverage analytics to monetize their podcasts?
Most people are familiar with the traditional way to obtain sponsors which is the CPM model. However, most niche and independent podcasters are not reaching the numbers to qualify for this type of sponsorship, which is perfectly fine. This is where you can leverage the data from your social media reach as well as your email reach. Creating a unique package for sponsors that goes beyond your podcast is a smart use of all of your assets. Additionally, sponsorship is not the only way to make money for your podcast. Using your data as I mentioned above to plan events for your community is a smart way to monetize. Also, writing books, creating workbooks, or any other type of digital resource based on the topics that resonate best with your listeners is another way to monetize.
What podcast analytics tools would you recommend we familiarize ourselves with?
As a beginner in podcast you should definitely familiarize yourself with the podcast analytics that are available from your hosting platform. This is where you can learn about your total downloads, downloads by episode, downloads by markets/states/territories/countries, and the devices that you receive downloads on. You can view this data overall or within specific timeframes.
Listen Notes is also a website that provides a metric I love, which is telling you if your podcast is ranked globally. If you are within the Top 10% or higher based on Listen Note’s calculation their website will let you know. They even have a feature that allows you to embed this data on your website.
Chartable is a resource that tells you if you ranked on any charts from the top listening platforms such as Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. This information is segmented by location and category. The user interface on Chartable is not very user friendly and you have to do some digging to find out the different categories and locations of your ranking, but if you are willing to put in some manual work then you may be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
A somewhat advanced tool is PodTrac. This is a third party podcast analytics site. It is useful because it gives the metric that many people want to know, but are not sure how to find, subscribers. I say it is somewhat advanced because you have to perform several steps to add it to your RSS field, so that your numbers will be tracked. I can not speak to the user interface because I have not used it yet, but I did do some research on the steps needed to get it setup.
How can readers connect with you?
If you are looking for help with your podcast analytics, you can schedule a consultation with me at: http://bit.ly/WinHers-PodCall.
You can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And you can check out my website, which links to all of my social media platforms at: http://winhersunited.com.
Are you inspired to leverage your podcast analytics in new ways? Are you searching for a community of like-minded Women of Color podcasters and audio creators to reach your podcasting goals? Join WOC Podcasters Community for a supportive and encouraging space to launch, grow and monetize your podcast.
Brittany Ngo is the Opportunities Coordinator of WOC Podcasters (Women of Color), an organization dedicated to the growth and representation of Women of Color in the podcasting industry. In 2021, Brittany relaunched the WOC Podcasters Job Board with improved search functionality and shared over 200 paid jobs. These include a wide range of positions from producers to editors and hosts at award-winning organizations across the globe. Brittany also supports the community by coordinating events and connecting members to a variety of grants and unique opportunities in audio.