8 important podcast statistics

Just started a podcast and wondering how to determine what is working? In this article I’ll cover the major podcast statistics you can look at.

Post Impact

Before I get into the specific things to measure, I want to mention that Inform.ly’s Post Impact chart will show you how much of an impact each of your podcast episodes are having by summing the:

  • Visits to the post
  • Number of comments (if you use Disqus)
  • Likes
  • Tweets
  • +1’s

This is a super quick way to see what episodes are having an impact and what aren’t.



Now let’s get into some specific stats.

1. Episode downloads

Blubrry offer free media stats for podcasters even if you don’t host files with them.

Downloads is the main stat tracked by podcasters. A lot of people use Blubrry for podcast stats. Blubrry offer a free media stats option where you can re-direct your media downloads via their server and they will provide you with free stats.

Buzzsprout offers simple podcast hosting.

I started out using Buzz Sprout to host my files and they also offer stats however I am now just hosting the files myself and using Blubrry stats.

Here’s a screenshot from Buzz Sprout, note Allan’s episode is new – don’t be too harsh on him. Schramko is the man – as you can see (update the Schramko episode is up to 5,000+).

Podcast download stats from BuzzSprout. You can click on the image to bring up a screenshot of the full stats page.

I’m not exactly sure how accurate the download count is. I’ve spoken to a few podcasters who seem to have an exceptionally high download to subscriber ratio but I still find it useful to check the numbers and work out which episodes were hits and tracking listener growth over time.

2. Subscribes

Screenshot of feedburner subscribers.

Subscribers is the next favourite stat to track mainly because when someone subscribes you are getting your content to them automatically each show. They are showing a commitment to the show and have effectively ‘opted in’.

This is how the subscriber stats work for my podcast:

  1. The main RSS feed is produced by Buzz Sprout.
  2. I put this feed address into Google Feedburner which allows me to count the number of subscribers (and display them on a chart in Informly).
  3. The feed produced by Feedburner is then placed into iTunes (this is also helpful if you ever decide to change podcast hosts you can do so without having to re-create the show in iTunes because you just update your feedburner input feed).
  4. Then I use the FD Feedburner plugin in WordPress to make sure the standard WordPress feed is re-directed to the new feedburner feed location.

Most people will subscribe via iTunes but there are also a lot of great podcasting apps like Stitcher and people on Android might be using different programs  – definitely if they are subscribing directly via their phones.

I also have a separate feed just for my blog posts but that’s probably not necessary.

There is more information about feedburner in my post Counting blog and podcast subscribers using Feedburner.

*Tip make sure the podcasting option is selected in feedburner so the feeds include your audio. 

3. Opt ins

I use MailChimp for emails newsletters and opt in forms.

Most people who host a podcast have a reason for doing so and often it’s got to do with building a list to market to later on. While subscribers are good, you still have very little control over subscribers. You know they are getting your content but you don’t have any control over the message that they see when they get your content and you don’t know who they are so you can’t really communicate with them at all.

For that reason it’s good to be able to have people opt in to something on your website. A good example is Internet Business Mastery. They have a pop up subscription and a big subscription box up the top right for people to be able to opt in to their content.

I use MailChimp for my email newsletters and for the opt in forms on my site, I know a lot of podcasters use AWeber as well.

For more on email marketing statistics check out the post on 4 key email marketing statistics.

4. iTunes reviews

We are working on brining a subscriber count from iTunes into WCR right now.

Leaving a review in iTunes isn’t the easiest thing to do but it has a big impact on your position in iTunes so a lot of podcasters actively encourage reviews and check them regularly. Unfortunately checking them is a bit of a pain as well.

To check your reviews you have to:

  1. Go into iTunes and search for your podcast.
  2. Click on your podcast and check out the reviews for your podcast within the store you are in right now (based on your location).
  3. Down the bottom right there is a flag, you need click on that and change countries to search for reviews in other countries. This also gives you an idea of the location of your listeners (more on this later).

We are working on bringing a monthly iTunes review count into WCR so you can see the numbers of reviews people are leaving each month to get an idea of how much impact you are having on listeners.

5. Social media impact

Podcasters get a lot of their traffic from social media. For my podcast for example my 2 biggest referrers are Twitter and Facebook. Here are a few things you can keep an eye on to gauge your impact on social media:

  1. Use Klout to measure your overall influence but more importantly it also gives you a quick look at the number of Retreets, +1’s and Likes for the last 90 days. This is probably the easiest way to get an overall picture. More on that in this post.
  2. See who is retweeting your content or tweeting it from your site. The easiest way to do this is to set up alerts with Twilert and you’ll be notified when people tweet your episodes.
  3. Facebook likes and shares are good indicators that people are digging your show. If you don’t use Klout you can get those from the Insights on your Facebook page.

And of course just being active on social media means you will know what people are saying about your shows and how episodes are being received.

Once again the Informly Post Impact chart brings all of this together in one simple chart.


Pat Flynn’s income report podcast has 3-4x the number of comments than his other podcast episodes.

Comments are one of the best ways to gauge how much impact an episode is having. Take Pat Flynn’s podcast for example. A typical episode like this one might have 40-60 comments.

Check out how many comments on his 3rd annual income report podcast! 179 comments!

For both bloggers and podcasters, the number of comments is one of the main indicators used to determine how well received posts or episodes are.

There are a lot of commenting systems out there, I use Disqus which makes it really easy, almost stops spam completely while still allowing people to post without approval and enables you to reply via email. Plus their website is sexy and I like that. We use the Disqus plugin to manage comments for the WP Curve blog.

7. Site visits

The location of visitors to my Web Domination Podcast site.

Website visits is another one of the important podcast statistics. Most hosts, as previously mentioned, like to get visitors back to their sites and opting into lists etc. You can easily track website visitors and their behaviour using Google Analytics. Check out Understanding Google Analytics data for more on this.

Here are 3 important things I like to look at.

  1. The duration on site. This gives you some idea of whether people are reading your posts or listening to your show via your site (and whether they are listening to all of it or dropping off).
  2. The location of your audience. Because I’m Australian I’m used to having mostly Australian traffic to my sites but for the podcast this isn’t the case. I actually have twice as many visitors from the US than I do from Australia. This becomes useful information if you plan on marketing for your listeners.
  3. Your list of top referrers is a great way to work out if your podcast is being mentioned in other podcasts (like bloggers, podcasters like to stick together). When I look at my referral list, Foolish Adventure, Tropical MBA and Internet Business Mastery are all in my top 10 because I’ve been mentioned on those shows.

8. Ebook downloads.

S3 Stat is like AWStats for files hosted on Amazon S3.

One final thing worth considering is often podcasters will send people back to their site to download a free ebook or resource of some sort.

On my podcast site at the moment I have a download called ‘The Insider SEO Site List’. The Adsense Flippers send people to the site to download their Building a Niche site empire ebook.

There are 3 main ways you can track the downloads of these files:

  1. Analytics doesn’t track them by default but you can set up events if you have a good web developer or you can set up a re-direct or a sneaky iframe that shows a hidden page and set a goal up for that page so you can track the downloads as a goal.
  2. Your normal server stats probably do track downloads. AWStats is a popular server stats program that does it.
  3. I use Amazon S3 to host my files and I use the server S3 Stat which tracks the download numbers for my files.

Happy podcasting

I hope you enjoy podcasting as much as I do and you get value from checking the numbers to see how your show is going.


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Dan Norris is a co-founder at WP Curve and a passionate entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing.

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