Podcast Analytics Deep Dive with Shirley Wang

Show notes:

Timestamps

1:31 What are the podcast metrics Shirley pays the most attention to
4:04 Social media metrics and using social media for creator and guest selection
15:12 Shirley’s podcast data collection, cleaning, and wrangling process
17:33 On the importance of staying up to date with industry benchmarks and creating your own benchmarks
20:55 Common mistakes and misconceptions around podcast data
24:55 On the impact of features on download numbers over time
30:47 On turning listeners into newsletter subscribers and using newsletters as an acquisition channel
34:33 Prioritizing the right channels
35:10 Cross-promotions: not such a great channel after all?
35:45 Pod People’s brand building and engagement boosting methodology

Key ideas:

Podcast Metrics Shirley pays the most attention to

  • Pod People categorizes podcast metrics in two buckets: audience development and retention
  • Building awareness and discoverability: downloads, unique listeners, chart rankings, and editorial submissions.
  • Monitoring and increasing engagement: consumption rate, engaged listeners, and followers.
  • Importance of tracking metrics against industry benchmarks and own show growth across seasons.

Social media metrics and using social media for creator and guest selection

  • Social Media offers complimentary analytics for podcasting platforms.
  • Importance of engagement rates for creator and guest selection.
  • Shirley uses Grin, an influencer management tool, for tracking social media engagement.
  • The sweet spot for engagement: creators with 10,000-50,000 followers.
  • There’s a high correlation between creator engagement rates and podcast downloads.
  • Engagement benchmarks: TikTok (18%), and Instagram (3%).

Pain Points in Podcast Analytics

  • Lack of comprehensive analytics for decision-making and strategy.
  • Challenges in aggregating and visualizing data for reporting and analysis.
  • Difficulty in tracking the impact of specific marketing tactics, such as editorial submissions.

Shirley’s podcast data collection, cleaning, and wrangling process

  • She uses various tools and platforms, including Megaphone, Apple, Spotify, and social media.
  • No single source of truth but a composite picture from different dashboards.
  • She cleans and wrangles the data with Excel formulas.
  • She tracks podcast downloads and YouTube listens differently due to platform differences.
  • Supplements data with surveys, pixels, and other sources when necessary.
  • She doesn’t use visualization solutions like Looker or Tableau but gets reports directly from platforms.

On the importance of staying up to date with industry benchmarks and creating your own benchmarks

  • Shirley keeps up with benchmarking reports from sources like Buzzsprout.
  • Pod People works with 100+ shows, using aggregate data from different networks, clients, and industries.
  • They set realistic benchmarks for different types of shows and seasons.
  • They adapt strategies for different show formats (e.g., fiction, docu-style, interview chat shows).
  • They use data and knowledge from platforms to inform future strategies.

Common mistakes and misconceptions around podcast data

  • Not setting up data capturing infrastructure (e.g., a prefix for historical data).
  • Clients are often unaware of platforms’ analytics tools, such as Spotify for podcasters and Apple Podcasts Connect.
  • Using vanity metrics (downloads) instead of true engagement metrics, such as the completion rate and follower/listener ratio.
  • Downloads can be easily manipulated (e.g., through bots and paid ads).
  • The focus should be on audience resonance and season-over-season growth.

Impact of features on download numbers over time

  • Example: editorial feature for a client whose podcast hadn’t been promoted actively.
  • The impact was evident. Downloads grew by 3x during the feature.
  • Context is essential (e.g., a podcast with a lower number of downloads will see a more significant impact).
  • Downloads tend to decrease slowly after the feature is removed.
  • Downloads went from 6,000 to 5,000 the week after the feature.
  • A portion of new listeners is retained (including passively through automatic downloads for followers on Apple); the rest churns.
  • This shows the importance of having a sticky, relevant, and niche show to retain as many new listeners as possible. Without stickiness, download spikes from promotions are short-lived.
  • Shirley estimates that listeners stay for one to two episodes before moving on. People forget about the show if not reminded regularly.
  • Difficulty in attributing the growth to specific marketing strategies.

Leveraging podcasts to promote newsletters and vice versa

  • Newsletters and podcasts can mutually benefit from each other
  • Use the podcast to promote the newsletter, then use the newsletter to promote the podcast
  • Share podcast highlights, updates, and teasers in the newsletter
  • Build a loyal audience with regular communication through newsletters.¬†Establish trust through consistent and valuable content
  • Email lists and newsletters are a powerful retention mechanism. You can notify listeners when a new episode drops.

Turning listeners into newsletter subscribers

  • Offer exclusive content or early access to upcoming episodes
  • Promote the newsletter through various channels (e.g., social media, podcast, website)
  • Provide incentives (e.g., bonus content, exclusive access, discounts).
  • Embed newsletter sign-up forms on the podcast website.

Using newsletters as an acquisition channel

  • Explore paid and free mentions in relevant newsletters.
  • Running ads in relevant newsletters can yield a lower cost per download than podcast-to-podcast promotion.
  • Collaborate with other newsletters in your niche.
  • Balance time investment with potential benefits.

Using data to prioritize marketing channels

  • Analyze data from various marketing channels and efforts.
  • Identify high-performing channels to allocate resources more effectively.
  • Continuously refine and optimize marketing strategies based on data insights.

Cross-promotions: not such a great channel after all?

  • Conversion rates may not justify the time and effort spent on cross-promotions.
  • Other marketing channels can be more effective.
  • Cross-promotions are still used occasionally but with consideration for trade-offs.

Pod People’s brand building and engagement boosting methodology

  • Focus on brand building (awareness, downloads) and long-term engagement.
  • Prioritizing efforts based on time and resources.¬†Balancing trade-offs in marketing strategies.
  • Launch strategy: Make a big splash, be everywhere.
  • Season 1: experimentation, gathering data.
  • Season 2 and beyond: scale the channels that work, and refine strategies.

Resources:

Where to find and follow Shirley and Pod People

– Shirley’s LinkedIn profile
Pod People’s website

Must read

– Our comprehensive guide to podcast metrics

Tools mentioned:

– Grin.co (Influencer Marketing Software)
– Apple Podcasts Connect
– Spotify for Creators
– Youtube Analytics
– Tableau and Looker (Data Visualization solutions)