Understanding your podcasts statistics is essential to evaluating the success of your show, but podcast statistics can be confusing and complex. This article will address frequently asked questions and relevant topics regarding podcast analytics and how to help better understand and interpret your podcasts analytics and data.
The Downloads vs. Streams vs. Plays vs. Listens vs. Audience Numbers Debate
- Downloads are just a download of an episode
- Podcast audio can be automatically downloaded to your phone or audio can be downloaded when a listener wants to hear it - which is referred to as a "user-initiated download".
- Technically streams do not exist in podcasting
- Streams in podcasting is sometimes referred to convey the action of pressing play on a podcast that has not been downloaded yet. However, ART19 views that action as a download because technically it is.
- A listen or play is when a human has pressed the play button
- ART19 does not report on whether a piece of audio has ever been listened-to (a listen or play), but podcast listening platforms do report on listening metrics however most don't share that data.
- Total audience numbers cannot be accurately calculated from downloads.
- Downloads do not equate to listeners. For example an episode might have 2,000 downloads but that does not mean it has 2,000 listeners (automated downloads may be downloaded but never listened to or it might be downloaded twice by a user).
Apple Podcast Analytics
Apple Podcast analytics are accessible by logging into your Apple Podcasts Connect account. Apple is responsible for approximately 40% of all podcast downloads. Apple Podcasts analytics only report on plays, not downloads. Apple Podcasts knows when listeners hit the play button to listen, regardless if it was downloaded or not - as well as how long that user listened for.
Because only a portion of your audience is listening via Apple Podcasts, Apple Podcasts analytics are only representative of a sample of your audience. But it's still a helpful tool to help you further understand how Apple listeners are interacting and engaging with your podcast.
Spotify for Podcasters
Your Spotify podcast analytics are accessible by logging into your Spotify for Podcasters account (for information on how to claim your series via Spotify reference our help center article). Spotify provides industry standard consumption data (like Apple and Google), but also provides demographic data such as age, gender, geo-location, and what music they listen to on Spotify.
Spotify analytics dashboard does not measure downloads but they do measure listens. They classify listens into two categories:
1. Starts, which is any listener who clicked on a podcast episode. There is no minimum time limit to be counted as a start on Spotify. Starts align to a download used by other podcast listening platforms.
2. And streams which Spotify defines as any listener who listened to at least 60 seconds of your podcast. What Spotify defines as a stream aligns with the IAB definition of a download.
Similar to Apple, your Spotify podcast analytics are only representative of the portion of your audience consuming your podcast via Spotify. So, keep that in mind when interpreting this data and making decisions.
Google Podcasts Manager
Google Podcasts analytics are available by logging into your Google Podcasts Manager account (for information on how to claim your series via Google Podcasts reference our help center article on how to do so). Google Podcasts analytics record a "play" when a listener has listened to 5 seconds or more of an episode; compared to Spotify and Apple which have no minimum time limit, which contributes to Google showing lower numbers across data points compared to other listening platforms.
Google is responsible for less than 5% of all podcast downloads, so keep this in mind when interpreting your data and making decisions based on that data.
Comparing statistics from different listening platforms is hard
In conclusion, navigating the landscape of podcast analytics requires a clear understanding of the various terms and metrics and how each listening platform defines them. Recognizing the differences between these metrics is fundamental in comprehending the impact and reach of your podcast. Platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts offer unique insights into listener behavior, with each providing valuable information that can aid in gauging engagement and making informed decisions for your podcast. It is crucial to remember that these analytics represent only segments of your overall audience, reflecting listenership patterns within specific platforms. This article outlines why its difficult to piece together your podcast data as a whole - and even more tricky to compare podcast statistics from different listening platforms due to the variations in data measurement methodologies, audience demographics, and the diverse user behaviors specific to each platform.