Podcast Visibility Optimization

The easy guide to measuring the impact of podcast visibility optimization

“How do I measure the impact of Podcast Visibility Optimization on my downloads?” This is a question we often get asked during the first training session of our pilot program.

It’s a smart question. If you are taking the time to optimize your metadata properly, you want to be sure that your efforts are paying after all.

Also, your boss will probably ask you how the same question at some point. Let’s make sure you have an accurate answer ready when the time comes.

The easy-breezy approach

The first measurement method is simple:

  1. Take the date at which you published your first significant metadata changes
  2. Look at your weekly download data before the changes. We recommend you take four weeks of data. This will be your baseline.
  3. Take your weekly download data after making the changes.
  4. Compare the two and calculate the increase.

For example, if your podcast had 100,000 weekly downloads on average in the four weeks prior to the changes and now has 105,000 weekly downloads, that’s an extra 5,000 downloads (a 5% increase).

increase formula

And that’s it. Simple, right? And if you want to make your life dead easy, copy this Google Sheets template and fill it out with your daily download data. Our formulas take care of the rest. 😉

In our client work, we usually see results after about three weeks, so we recommend waiting 3-4 weeks to run that calculation.

Important note: this method works well for most podcasts but requires relative stability.

We assume you:

  • Keep the same publishing schedule.
  • Don’t run a major marketing campaign simultaneously.
  • Don’t have someone on your podcast who’s wildly more popular than your usual guests.
  • Etc.

If any of the above points doesn’t apply, keep reading because you must use a (slightly) more elaborate approach.

The peaks and valleys method

To use this method, we first need to define some essential concepts.

1) Your download mix

Your downloads are always going to consist of different types of downloads:

  • Automatic downloads: you release a new episode, and some podcast players will automatically download it to the user’s device. For instance, Apple Podcasts does this with people who follow your podcast.
  • Marketing-related downloads: you promote your show on social media, your website, or your newsletter.
  • Organic downloads: listeners find your show via the search bar of their listening app.

2) Your usual download pattern

If you release new episodes regularly, it looks something like this:

usual podcast download pattern

This client releases new episodes biweekly. You can observe regular download peaks corresponding to episode releases. The peaks are primarily due to automatic downloads.

Each peak is followed by a sharp decline the next day, and downloads keep decreasing gradually until the next release.

This forms a pattern shaped like peaks and valleys.

Shortly after that client started leveraging PVO, they ran a 2-week cross-promotion campaign with the podcast host appearing on their #1 radio show.

Great for downloads, but it meant organic downloads generated by PVO were mixed in with marketing downloads.

I know what you think: we could have simply excluded the two weeks where the cross-promotion ran and used the simple method, looking at the data from week 3. Smart, but not so fast.

If your content is high quality, a marketing campaign will result in new followers, which means more automatic downloads on Apple.

This meant we couldn’t use download data from peak days.

We could, however, use the data from valleys! During low-download days, there are no automatic downloads that can skew the data. The majority of downloads are organic.

All we had to do was compare the level of valleys before and after metadata changes. Since we’re comparing apples to apples here, an increase has to come from PVO. This is precisely what we were able to observe here.

Measure the impact of PVO impact using download valleys

Before leveraging PVO, the podcast was getting about 8300 downloads on a bad day. Five weeks after starting the pilot, this number reached 16500. A 99% increase. At that point, 3 weeks had passed since the end of the cross-promotion campaign. The extra downloads could only be explained by a surge in organic downloads resulting from PVO.

Important note on seasonality and holidays

If you start optimizing your metadata during a major holiday period, none of the methods above will work out of the box because your download numbers will plummet no matter what. You are probably not releasing new episodes, and if you are, listeners will not show up. You need to hold off measuring until 3-4 weeks after the end of that holiday.

Want to increase your podcast downloads with Podcast Visibility Optimization? Create your Voxalyze account now! It’s free. PVO is one of the greatest podcast marketing opportunities right now. Most publishers don’t leverage, which makes it incredibly effective for those who do.