Just like bloggers, most podcasters are obsessed with checking their stats. I’m a huge stats junkie myself so I can totally relate to why people are constantly checking their stats. But if you’re hosting your podcast with Libsyn (which I highly recommend) there are a few things to keep in mind and be prepared for before you start digging through the mountain of data in your dashboard.
I’m not going to tackle this task all by myself (although I am going to add my own personal take) instead I want to share with you a video HOA featuring the top podcasters in the industry as they go behind the scenes, and get down to the nitty-gritty of podcasting stats in the Libsyn dashboard with Rob Walch, the VP of Podcaster Relations.
What You Will NOT Learn From Your Podcasting Stats
Before I share the video with you, let’s talk about why I titled this post “the naked truth”.
First off, switch gears for a second and think about Google Analytics and all the stats you can learn about traffic coming to your site. For example, here is a short list of what you can learn about your blog’s traffic by checking your stats in Google Analytics:
- How many people visit your site
- How long people stay on your site
- How many pages people visit
- How quickly do they bounce
- How many returning visitors you have, etc.
So let’s just put it out there right now. You are NOT going to find out that information in your podcasting stats. There’s just no way that information will be tracked by a media host be it Libsyn or any other podcasting host.
Secondly, switch gears again and think about the analytics you get from YouTube.
- How long people watch your videos
- How do people find your videos
- How many times your videos are shared on social media
- How many times people click your annotations, etc.
Again you might ask if you will find similar information in your podcasting stats? Again the answer is nope.
Last but not least (before we get into what you will learn in your podcasting stats) let’s talk about the “s” word.
Yes, it’s the thing that all bloggers and webmasters who know what they are doing covet. Even most podcasters beg for non-stop throughout their shows. You know what I’m talking bout!
Let me break it to you gently in case you don’t know where I’m going with this. You are NOT going to find out how many subscribers you have to your podcast.
You want subscriber counts? Check AWeber. You can even check FeedBurner.
Wait hold up a second, that was very misleading.
I don’t mean that you can find your podcast subscriber count in Feedburner. In fact you should never, ever check any of your podcasting stats in FeedBurner. I was talking about blog subscribers. But now let’s go back to talking about podcasting stats and without further ado – I bring you my friends David Jackson from the School of Podcasting, Daniel J. Lewis from the Audacity to Podcast and Ray Ortega from the Podcasters Studio as they hangout with Rob Walch in Libsyn.com From Stats Top To Bottom with Rob Walch
Key Take-Aways About Podcasting Stats
I didn’t want to scare you away from checking your podcasting stats, but since I’m a huge advocate for podcasting and I know a lot of you are learning about podcasting through this blog, I wanted to help dispel any myths that are floating around before you get led astray. However, I know that some folks don’t have time to watch the entire video so here are some of what I consider to be the highlights and key take-aways from the conversation:
What is considered as “a download”
Most of what you’ll see in your stats are “downloads” and what that means is that whenever someone plays your podcast on their device, or if its downloaded to your library, or if its streaming or progressive streams from an HTML5 player. This is how downloads are counted by Libsyn and they filter out extras and duplicates based on IP addresses.
In the past, people would use the term “subscribers” but we [podcasters] should no longer refer to the number of subscribers because it is not an accurate way of determining the growth of your show, use the number of downloads as a better gauge of your shows health.
How to determine the growth of your show
For example, if you have a weekly show, look at the total number of downloads for an episode about 4 weeks after it was published. If the total number of downloads is around 500 or more consider your show to be above “average” and your audience should be growing every month. Many of us will see traffic spikes in our stats charts for the number of downloads per episode which can be based on a number of factors, including how well the show was promoted by yourself or any of your guests or co-hosts.
Here’s a good way to think about it:
There are 60 million people who consume podcasts per month, however the median number of downloads for podcasters is around one hundred and forty to 200 per episode. Well you might ask, what does that mean?
It means that half of the podcasts hosted on Libsyn get more than 200 downloads per episode and half get less than 200 per episode. With that being said, some of the biggest podcast get hundreds of thousands of downloads per episode. The biggest show is a video podcast called Happy Tree Friends and they get over 1 million downloads per month. There are some popular podcasts that have reached around 2,400 to 2,500 downloads per month.
The panel talks more about the advanced stats which you will find under the Technology link and you will see a report for User Agents. The term “user agent” represents the device that’s being used to consume your downloads and by far the most popular user agent is Apple Core Media which includes iOS devices, the podcast app and HTML5 media players in Mobile Safari Smartphone apps.
There is a lot more covered in this HOA, and you can keep up with all the news about the release of the brand new Libsyn 4 dashboard on the Official Libsyn Podcast called The Feed, hosted by the lovely Elsie Escobar.
You Should Host Your Show With Libsyn
Libsyn is the number one podcast hosting service, they have a long standing reputation in the podcasting community and their rates are very affordable.
In order to get the Libsyn Basic stats you pay $7 a month under the Classic 50 or get more storage for $15 a month. Basic Stats show you the list of countries, cities, and states where your podcast is being played. For the App 400 you pay $20 a month (which is the plan my daughter Nikki and I both use for our podcasts) you get advanced stats which includes the list of User Agents, neat looking donut charts like the one below, and the ability to export your data (shout out to my listeners in Singapore – who knew?)
But most importantly and the number one reason I recommend Libsyn as a podcasting host is the ability to have your own podcasting app.
This gives you a HUGE advantage when it comes to discover-ability and branding! Let’s face it, one of the primary reasons you started a podcast in the first place was to establish yourself as an authority in your niche right? Having your own Smartphone app will put you on the map in more ways than you can imagine. I love the way Mia Voss reacted when I told her about this in a recent hangout we did this past weekend.
If you are ready to get started with your very own podcast you can get one month of free hosting using my friend Dave Jackson’s referral code when you sign up. Just enter SOPFREE when you check out. Dave was kind enough to allow me to share this video with you and he also offers podcast coaching and other professional services.
Now you have the naked truth about your podcasting stats and why I think you should host your show with Libsyn.