8 Effective Methods for How To Measure a Podcast's Success

Updated June 24, 2022

Podcasts are a popular form of creative content that consist of audio-based episodes, often featuring a host who discusses a particular topic. As podcasts rise in popularity, it's necessary for creators to determine how impactful or valuable their podcast is in the current market. If you're a podcast creator, you might consider implementing a process for measuring the overall achievement of your podcast. In this article, we define what makes a podcast successful, explain its importance and provide a list of eight different methods for how to measure a podcast's success.

Related: How To Start a Podcast Step By Step (And Promote It)

What makes a podcast successful?

A podcast may be successful when it's well-produced and effectively marketed, reaching a wide audience and maintaining a large sphere of influence among the public. For example, if a podcast has clear, high-quality audio and the marketing team produces consistent promotional content, it may have a higher success rate.

Podcasts provide opportunities for people to learn new information, invest in a topic they care about or enjoy entertainment. You can create specific goals for your podcast to guide your process of evaluation, which may help you determine if your podcast is successful. You may develop unique goals for your podcast, which can also help you differentiate it from others.

Related: 14 Podcast Tips for Success

Why is it important to measure podcast success?

Measuring the success of a podcast is important because it can help podcast creators appeal to their audience more effectively. The particular level of success might be different for each podcast since success depends on the goals that the creators and producers develop. Implementing a strategy to determine if the podcast is successful can help creators better understand their audience, learn how to engage listeners, identify how much influence the podcast has and discover how to set up the podcast to succeed long term.

There are many elements of a podcast that can provide substantial details about the audience, engagement levels and quality of the content. Understanding how each element impacts the overall success of the podcast can help podcast creators decide what to focus on in future episodes. This helps creators determine if they're meeting their goals and engaging their listeners.

Related: How To Start a Podcast Business in 7 Steps

8 methods for how to measure podcast success

Here's a list of eight methods you might use to measure the success of your podcast:

1. Number of listeners

One metric podcast creators might reference is the number of listeners they have for each episode. For example, the first episode of a new podcast might receive 100 listeners. However, if the second episode has 300 listeners, this can show that the promotion of the podcast is successful. The number of listeners can also positively impact the revenue that a podcast receives from a streaming platform or from the ads they include in the episode.

Related: What Is a Podcast Producer?

2. Number of downloads per episode

While it's important to track how many people listen to each episode, another way to measure the success of a podcast is by calculating the number of people who download an episode. Downloads help measure how many listeners plan to listen later or listen a second time. A higher number of downloads per episode may impact the revenue a podcast earns and indicate its overall reach. Additionally, a high number of downloads may communicate how many devoted listeners a particular podcast has.

3. Sponsors and advertisements

Another element of podcasts is revenue, which usually takes the form of income a podcast creator earns from sponsorships and advertisements. For example, an athletic shoe company may sponsor a podcast focused on sports. The podcast host then delivers an ad during the podcast episode to promote the shoe company. Reviewing the number of sponsors their podcast has or the price that companies pay for advertisement space can help creators understand the market value of the podcast. Measuring your income from sponsors and advertisements is one factor that you might consider when evaluating your podcast.

Consider using this formula to determine how much your podcast is earning from ads and sponsorships:

(Ad revenue + revenue from sponsorships) − expenses = return on investment

4. Audience and critic reviews

It's important to read and listen to what audience members or critics say about your podcast. Their feedback can provide helpful suggestions for how to improve your content and show you the areas in which your podcast does well. Additionally, you might use good reviews to market your podcast by listing the number of five-star reviews you've received. Several good reviews may help build the credibility and reputation of your podcast by showing how many people approve of the content you create.

5. Website and social media traffic

To learn how the size of your audience has changed over time, consider measuring the traffic to your website and social media accounts. You might analyze the percentage of change from the start of the podcast to the most recent episode to determine if the number of people who visit your website has changed. Additionally, you can assess the reach of your social media accounts by recording the number of followers you have over time. Consider recording the following metrics and comparing them periodically:

  • Traffic to your podcast website

  • Engagement on social media posts about the podcast

  • Followers on social media accounts for the podcast

6. Engagement with promotional materials

Some podcast creators may use a variety of promotional materials, like social media or email campaigns, to raise awareness about the podcast. It's often effective to monitor how your audience interacts with these materials. For example, if you design and send an email promotion to 5,000 listeners about the new season of your podcast and 85% of them open and interact with the email, you may determine that your audience engagement is high and that they value the content you produce. This can help you plan other promotional content that best appeals to your audience.

7. Networking and referrals

Another feature of a podcast you might measure is the popularity of networking and referrals. Networking involves including others in the podcast, such as a guest host for one episode. Consider asking your guests if they can recommend other people who might be interested in participating in the podcast. Additionally, by interviewing people who are experts on the podcast's subject, you may increase the credibility of your show.

Consider building long-lasting relationships with podcast guests. You can do this by thanking them after the episode is finished and maintaining contact with them via email, over the phone or on social media. This may encourage popular guests to return for future episodes or help you develop ideas for new content.

8. Recycled content

If your brand recycles podcast content, consider measuring the success of each new display of the same content. For example, if you film a video while recording a podcast, you might post the video online and an audio-only version of the podcast episode at the same time. While the content is similar, each type of medium may attract different listeners because it displays the content in different ways.

Consider evaluating your recycled content to determine if each type receives similar levels of engagement. These statistics might reveal how one type of content compares to the others. This may help you make content that's engaging and support you in developing a promotional strategy when you produce new podcast episodes.


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