Growing Your Audience

Understanding Your Podcast Analytics To Grow An Audience

9 min read

Podcast analytics are the foundation of big growth decisions. Building an audience, increasing number of downloads, and creating a successful podcast all hinge on understanding the numbers. The data related to high performing episodes and those around listener demographics all provide powerful insights.

But the decentralization of podcasting poses a problem. Podcasters need to look at the aggregate numbers across every listening platform, from Spotify to Pocket Casts, to get a better view into their performance. To remove manual calculations, Castos and many other podcast hosting platforms, created one dashboard to display your data. It’s now easier than before to access a full snapshot an episode in one look.

However, having the numbers pulled together into a single dashboard is just a start. Understanding the analytics and putting their insights to work is how you make better data-backed decisions.

The world of podcast analytics is still in its infancy. And with that comes the need to educate podcasters around how the numbers are calculated and where they come from. Ultimately, the goal is to use your Spotify or Apple podcast analytics to discover new audiences and create more content they’ll love.

In this article, we explain your podcast analytics, where to access the numbers inside Castos, and how to use the data to grow an audience.

Accessing Your Castos Podcast Analytics Dashboard

Castos podcast stats dashboard

Inside a Castos dashboard, you can access plenty of podcast statistics to learn more about your audience.

To get started, log into your Castos account, and from the main dashboard screen click “Analytics” in the top right corner. From the first report, you can start filtering the data by podcast (if you host multiple shows), alter the date ranges, and drill into specific episode performances.

Here’s a breakdown of where to find each data point, what it means, and how it can help you gain followers, more listens, and build a loyal fan base.

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Total listeners/downloads

Castos podcast analytics dashboard total listeners

Total Listeners/Downloads represents the total number of people who pressed play or downloaded an episode over the entire lifespan of your podcast. In the example above, this podcast had 4,804 Total Listeners/Downloads from March 3rd to June 5th.

On the graph, look at the listening data over time for any spikes on particular dates. You can even filter by specific date ranges for more detail. Use this information to figure out your audience’s listening preferences. Do the majority of listens correspond to the day you release new episodes? Have the total listens remained consistent after making a change to the podcast’s format? Are total listens steadily increasing or decreasing since your launch day?

Tip

To access your Total Listeners/Downloads, click the “Analytics” tab in the top-right corner of your Castos dashboard. This data is on the main page of your analytics view. Login Here to check it out.

Total listens per episode

Castos podcast analytics dashboard top episodes

Top Episodes is a ranking of all published episodes by total listens. The total listen count is calculated from the number of times a play button was pressed across every podcast directory where your podcast is listed. The list is automatically organizes episodes from most popular to least. But there’s the option to sort them in ascending order, alphabetically, and by episode number. You can also set specific date ranges and search for episodes by name.

Total listens provides insight into the audience’s listening behavior because it counts a new listen every time someone presses play. Higher total listens could mean people are listening to the same episode more than once. Or starting an episode and finishing it later on. This metric also helps you make future content decisions. Is your audience engaging more with certain topics compared to others? Is there common threads between the lowest performing episodes that you can remove in the future?

Tip

To access your Total Listens per Episode, click the “Analytics” tab in the top-right corner of your Castos dashboard and then select the “Top Episodes” tab. Login Here to check it out.

Listening methods

Castos podcast analytics dashboard listening methods

Listening methods is the podcast stat that shows from where your audience tunes in. Broken out by browser and app, the first graph automatically loads the total listens in the last 90 days from the top 10 episodes. Again in this report, a listen is counted anytime someone presses play.

You can update the data by specific date ranges and load listen count from every episode in your catalog. In the second tab, you also have the option to view performance by device. You can determine if people use Apple, PC or Android desktop and mobile devices to listen.

The report compiles data from your Apple Podcast analytics, browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, and apps like Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and more. Castos users can download PDF versions of each graph as well.

While it’s important to list a show across as many platforms as possible, use these podcast analytics to determine which listening platforms and devices your audience prefers.

Seeing a lot of listens from Chrome? That means people are going to your website and consuming episodes from the embedded player. Is there an opportunity to add transcriptions or other resources to enrich the listening experience? Is there a lot of activity coming from Stitcher? You could qualify for their advertising revenue sharing program to start earning money from each episode. Does the majority of your audience use Android devices? It may make sense to update your call-to-action to list Android-specific apps instead of only promoting a subscribe link to Apple Podcasts.

Tip

To access your Listening Methods stats, click the “Analytics” tab in the top-right corner of your Castos dashboard and then select the “Listening Methods” tab. Login Here to check it out.

Spotify podcast analytics

Castos podcast analytics dashboard Spotify listening stats

Spotify is growing their industry position and as a result, more users are consuming podcasts on their platform. Broken out into a separate tab, your Spotify podcast analytics report shows the total listens per episode by any date range. In this report, a listen is counted anytime someone presses play.

Similar to the Listening Methods report, these Spotify podcast stats can inform whether their platform is popular among your listeners. It’s important to remember listening platforms have different user demographics. For example, 29% of Spotify’s user base are millennials. If your podcast caters to an older age bracket, seeing less engagement from Spotify isn’t as alarming because their user base isn’t comprised of your ideal listener.

Graph of Spotify User breakdown by age demographics

Tip

To access your Spotify stats, click the “Analytics” tab in the top-right corner of your Castos dashboard and then select the “Listening Methods” tab and then “Spotify”. Login Here to check it out.

Geographic podcast stats

Castos podcast analytics dashboard geographic listening stats by city

Your podcast’s geographic stats represent where in the world listeners are located. The map is interactive so you can drill into specific countries to see which cities listeners live in. As added bonus, the data can be altered by date to see how an audience’s geographic breakdown changes over time. Pro Plan subscribers with Advanced Analytics can also download a PDF version of the data and graphs by city or country.

Your geographic distribution is an important metric to track, especially when looking at monetization opportunities. If you’re considering hosting live events, start with the cities where the majority of your listeners live. Pitching a local brand for a sponsorship opportunity? Show them how many people in their target cities tune in to your podcast to highlight your value.

Tip

To access your Geographic stats, click the “Analytics” tab in the top-right corner of your Castos dashboard and then select the “Geographic Stats” tab. Login Here to check it out.

Unique listeners and subscribers

Castos podcast analytics dashboard unique listeners and subscribers

Unique Listeners represents the number of individual people who pressed play on an episode. This metric is different than Total Listens because it removes multiple plays by the same person. It provides an accurate report of the number of people who engaged with an episode, as opposed to the number of times the play button was pressed.

Comparing Unique Listeners to Total Listens per Episode is a useful ratio to further understand your audience’s engagement. Does an episode have 2x more Total Listens than Unique Listeners? That may mean your audience consumed it more than once or started and finished it later. If you publish an episode that’s a bit different than your typical format, use this ratio to see if users changed their listening habits.

Subscribers is a proprietary calculation that is unique to Castos. Our algorithm pulls your podcast download stats from every platform and based on their listening behavior, tallies the number of users who subscribed to your show. Use the Subscriber count to show the number of people who receive automatic updates for each new episode. They are your active, most loyal supporters.

Note

Unique listeners and Subscribers are available for Pro Plans Only.

To access Unique Listeners and Subscribers, click the “Analytics” tab in the top right corner of your Castos dashboard. Then click the “Listeners Info” tab. This report automatically loads each episode’s Unique Listeners over the lifetime of your podcast. And your Subscriber count appears in the top-right corner of that page.

Additional Spotify Podcast Analytics

Spotify provides four main podcast stats about the show overall and lets you drill into an individual episode’s performance:

  • Total Starts: how many times a person pressed play.
  • Total Streams: how many times a person pressed play and played at least 60 seconds.
  • Total Unique Listeners: how many unique listeners pressed play for each episode.
  • Total Followers: how many users clicked the “follow” button on Spotify. For those who subscribe, Spotify automatically downloads new episodes so this number doesn’t accurately reflect how many of your followers played an episode.
  • Individual Episode Performance: drill into each episode by viewing average time users spent listening to it and the percentage of users who listened to 25%, 50%, and +75% of an episode.

Your Castos dashboard highlights Total Starts per Episode under our Spotify Listening Methods report. But if you notice a lot of activity coming from Spotify, you should review their full dashboard of podcast stats.

How to see additional Spotify podcast stats

Spotify for Podcasters analytics dashboard

Seeing additional Spotify podcast analytics starts by logging into your Spotify podcast dashboard.

The dashboard’s first screen shows all time Starts, Streams, and Listeners for every podcast you manage. Clicking the “Catalog” tab then shows individual podcast performances. This is where you can drill into specific episode by clicking on each podcast name.

With more information about your audience’s gender and age breakdowns and the average listening time per episode, seeing your Spotify stats paints a fuller picture of your fan base. In partnership with your Castos podcast analytics, podcasters who use analyze both data sets are steps ahead of their competition.

Apple Podcast Analytics

Apple Podcast Analytics is a data visualization tool in Podcasts Connect that lets you view actionable insights of your show’s performance and understand how listeners consume your show. You can access this feature from within Podcasts Connect by signing in the same Apple ID you used to originally submit your show and selecting “Podcast Analytics” from the dropdown menu in the top-left corner.

Apple Podcast Analytics gives you detailed information about how your show performance on Apple Podcasts

With Podcast Analytics, you can learn a lot about your show and episodes, including…

  • How many people are listening to each episode.
  • Whether people are skipping your intros or ads.
  • Where your listeners are located in the world.
  • Which parts of the episode they find more interesting.
  • How your show and episodes perform over time.

Keep in mind that Apple Podcast Analytics only apples to your show’s performance on Apple Podcasts. This includes iPhone, iPads, Macs, and Apple TVs, so we’re talking about a lot of people, but it won’t include anyone who listens to your show on your podcast website, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or other directories and aggregators. If you want a total picture of your show’s performance, you’ll need to view analytics from your podcast hosting service (like we explained above).

To learn more about Apple Podcast Analytics, check out Apple’s introductory video.

Summary

Whether you’re podcasting as a passion project or it’s the main focus of your business, understanding the basics of podcast analytics is essential. Many podcast hosting platforms offer different stats and it’s an area of our product that we take very seriously.

Making routine advancements and updates to our analytics reports is a priority at Castos. Our goal is to help our customer create successful podcasts. And it becomes easier to achieve that when you understand who your audience is, where they consume your content, and their listening behaviors.

All you have left to do is sign into your Castos dashboard to find where the best growth opportunities are hiding.

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Craig Hewitt
Craig is the founder of Castos. When he's not busy podcasting, talking about podcasting, or helping others get started in this awesome medium he's hanging out with his wife, two children, and likely planning their next travel adventure.

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