Sorry for the dramatic title, but I've reluctantly come to the conclusion that almost half of podcast download stats aren't telling you the truth about your listeners.
Last week I met someone who claimed to have 90,000 podcast episodes waiting to be listened to. Another person at the same table said he is subscribed to more than 130 podcasts and can only listen to a couple a day.
That means episodes are being downloaded by real people, but never being consumed.
I'm guilty of the same thing.
I will download every episode I am subscribed to but will occasionally delete those I just can't get to (not enough time in the day) or the title doesn't interest me. #wasteddownload
It is possible we will have greater visibility when Apple Podcasts gives podcast creators access to listener behavior analytics, but Stitcher has offered a similar thing for years. What I have seen from those statistics is you'd be lucky to get 75% of your audience to listen all the way through, 55% – 65% is considered a success.
So, what can a podcaster do if their stats are lying to them?
1) Make your CTA (Call To Action) compelling:
- Ask what your audience for their opinion on a controversial topic
- Host a webinar for your greatest listeners (those who show up are your greatest listeners)
- Create a unique giveaway
2) Make it easy for your audience to interact with you:
- Include a link to your CTA in the description of your episode (so it is clickable in their mobile device)
- Use a URL shortener like PrettyLink to make it quicker and easier for listeners to go to your website to comment, register, or watch a funny cat video
3) Keep your branding consistent
- When possible, make your podcast name the same as your website URL
- Make your CTAs fit your niche/brand (in other words, don't promote cigarettes on your Cancer Recovery podcast)
- Don't ask for a Rating and Review on iTunes if the main goal of your podcast is to get them to download your free report on your website
Any response or action taken above will be from an actual listener!
If the CTA is in the middle of the show then you can be certain they listened to that part of the show. If you have a CTA at the end the it is very likely you have an avid fan who listens all the way through. If you share a special listener-only link in your show, like a discount or free download, then anyone using that link must be a real listener.
THOSE are stats you can take to the bank!