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How To Measure And Accelerate Your Podcast Growth

May 18, 2021

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If the number of downloads doesn’t indicate the success of a podcast, how can we measure our podcast growth? How do you know if all of the energy and time you’ve put into your podcast is worth it if you don’t have the stats to prove it?

In yesterday’s episode, Serena Dodd showed us how her two successful podcasts have completely different stats because they have completely different audiences and goals. Today, I’m talking about how to actually determine if your podcast is growing and how you can accelerate your growth. Let’s get started! 


The numbers don’t matter

It may sound trite, but you cannot compare yourself to another podcast to determine if you are successful or not. Your topic is different, your audience is different. Comparing yourself to other podcasters will only create doubt and disappointment. 

For example, I don’t have thousands of downloads for this podcast. Not even close. That is not my goal because my audience is quite niche. I make this podcast for fellow podcasters, so anyone without a podcast is automatically out of my potential audience. Compare that to Serena’s podcast, So Driven, which focuses on personal development. Her podcast has a wide reaching audience, so naturally it will have a lot more downloads than this one. However, we both have successful podcasts because both podcasts are meeting the strategic goals we set. 

Measuring your podcast’s growth

The best way to measure your podcast’s growth is to only compare yourself with yourself. Look at your downloads this month compared to last month or last quarter. Are you getting more downloads this month? If yes, your podcast is growing. It’s really that simple. 

This can be a slippery slope though, which I’m 100% guilty of doing. Don’t look at your stats every day. It fluctuates too much and doesn’t give you enough information to analyze. Once a month is a good frequency for reviewing data.

I like to keep a spreadsheet of the number of downloads I get each month and the percentage increase or decrease from the previous month. Remember that growth isn’t linear and it doesn’t mean every single month will be a growth month. 

How to accelerate your podcast’s growth

Each month when you collect your metrics, look at the trend of the last couple of months. If you see a major swing either up or down, ask yourself what you did differently that month that could have caused the change. 

If you had a huge increase in listeners, is that because you implemented a new promotion strategy? Did one episode perform really well because the topic was really engaging or you had a guest who brought their audience to your podcast? Once you identify what caused the increase, keep doing that thing.

If your month was less than normal, ask yourself the same questions. If you can’t pinpoint one particular issue, it’s time to re-strategize and try something new. Give the new strategy at least a couple of months before determining if it was effective or not.

Other ways to measure growth

What other things can we look at other than downloads to measure growth? An important piece of information is where your listeners are coming from to determine how effective your promotion strategy is.

Sometimes it’s very difficult to see where people are actually coming from. For example, I get many listeners each day listening to my podcast, especially older episodes that I’m not actively promoting. I think they’re coming from Pinterest, but I have no way of knowing for sure. Since Google Analytics tells me not many people are finding the episodes through SEO, I have to assume Pinterest is the source. Sometimes you have to reverse engineer where you think people are coming from.

This is really important data if you want to accelerate your podcast growth. If you see that you get a lot more traffic from Pinterest than Instagram, maybe you need to step up your Instagram game. Maybe you’ve already tried that and it’s just not where your audience is and it’s not worth your effort anymore. That’s totally fine, too. You don’t need to be everywhere, but if you are on a platform, make sure it’s high quality and consistent in order for it to actually be effective at driving traffic to your podcast.

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