Developing a branded podcast as part of your overall content marketing strategy is an effective way to accomplish several key objectives: for example, to increase brand awareness, to remain top of mind, and to solidify your company’s credentials as an authority in its field. You must determine which podcasting metrics align with your goals, and then leverage them to measure progress.
In the information below, we’ll discuss some of the most common hard and soft metrics in the podcasting industry, and why you should (or shouldn’t) make them a priority when measuring results.
Hard Podcasting Metrics
By “hard” we mean “concrete, tangible.” These are the metrics by which most casual and entertainment-based podcasts are judged. They include:
The total downloads metric enables you to gain an approximate idea of how large your audience is. Unfortunately, there are some complicating factors associated with this metric. For example, the total number of podcast downloads usually does not equal the total number of listeners because:
- An individual listener may download the same episode on multiple devices.
- That same listener may also replay the episode over and over again, which usually counts as multiple downloads.
- A listener could download a podcast episode by accident, or download it with the intention of listening to it, but never follow through.
- The technical process of downloading a podcast episode may make it seem like multiple downloads have been made, when they really haven’t.
The bottom line is that total downloads do not equal total listens. For that reason alone, analysts often consider this metric to be the least important measure of podcasting success.
Note: Podcast episodes are never “streamed” in the traditional sense of the word. Instead, they are progressively downloaded via the web page or app, which allows for playback before the episode has been completely downloaded.
Unique downloads offer a more precise view of how large your podcast’s audience really is. A unique download represents a progressive episode download via the same app, from the same IP address, and within a day’s time frame (24 hours). In effect, unique downloads consolidate total downloads metrics into a more accurate measurement by filtering out multiple downloads from the same listener.
Looking at unique downloads is by far the most accurate way to determine audience size for your podcast, which makes this metric extremely valuable as a performance marker.
Your total number of subscribers can also indicate how large your audience is. In addition, any change in your average monthly subscribers (either positive or negative) can help you to evaluate podcast growth and direction.
This metric is not without its flaws, however. For example, a minority of your subscribers may still be on your list, but they haven’t listened to an episode in some time. People may also listen to your podcast (even regularly) and never subscribe. In addition, if you also post a video of your podcast to YouTube, they may also listen/watch there without subscribing.
If your podcast episodes include a specific CTA, then you may be able to track at least some of the traffic that comes to your website as a direct result of your podcast. For instance, you can append UTM codes to your podcast’s URL in order to trace your listeners’ journey from podcast to website. You can also look for spikes in your web traffic on the days you publish a new segment on your podcast. In terms of “hard” marketing metrics, conversion rate is often the most important KPI to follow.
Soft Podcasting Metrics
Hard metrics are often very important markers of success for consumer-driven podcasts. However, many branded B2B podcasts place more emphasis on “soft” metrics as opposed to their more concrete counterparts. This is because their podcast’s ultimate objective is to create a positive influence on their business. In other words, long-term content-marketing goals like establishing credibility and fostering customer loyalty are more important to these brands than short-term wins.
Common soft podcasting metrics include:
- Brand awareness. Is your podcast generating more mentions on social media or within your industry? Is the podcast contributing to more exposure for your brand?
- Social media engagement. Is your podcast being shared via social media platforms? Is it generating buzz? Are social media users within your target demographic talking about it?
- Ratings and reviews. Are your listeners leaving ratings for your podcast? Are the majority of your ratings favorable? Are audience members writing reviews of your podcast, and if so, what is the general tenor of those reviews?
- Authority. Are you gaining a share of voice within your industry? Where does your podcast show up in search results compared to your competitors? Do industry experts and other reputable sources refer to your podcast in an authoritative context?
- Earned media. Do other organizations either within your industry or adjacent to it mention your podcast? Are you getting invitations to join other podcasts because of your podcast?
- Customer loyalty. Have your customers indicated that they have learned from your podcast? Has the podcast generated a deeper sense of investment in your brand?
Measuring a branded business podcast should be done very differently than casual or entertainment-focused podcasts, and “soft” metrics are essential in this regard. The key performance indicators of a business podcast often come in softer measurements that are realized over a longer period of time, similar to most other forms of content marketing.
Should You Create a Video for Your Podcast?
Many brands publish videos of podcasting sessions, and then upload those videos to YouTube or another social media platform. This is often an excellent way to attract an even larger percentage of your target audience to your brand, as opposed to the release of standalone audio-only episodes.
It’s important to note that if you decide to create a video for your podcast, it will likely affect your audio podcast statistics. This is because you’re splitting your audience into two segments: those who listen to the audio version of your podcast vs. those who watch your video episodes on YouTube. However, your content is being consumed either way, and you should never become so focused on numbers that you forget the main purpose of your podcast: to grow your business.
When you are ready to begin your B2B podcast — fully backed with data to support its associated ROI — contact our team at Content Monsta to begin the conversation.