You record your podcast. You post it up, share it out to ALL of the social media sites that your audience is enjoying. Are they listening to your show? Are they listening how far along are they listening? How can I tell how many are listening?
Analytic and Statistical tools
Stats are a podcasters endearing frustration. We all look at them while some obsess and others just obsess at a lesser degree. And we should obsess about our podcast performance. Now to what level can be debated and we wont do that here.
What tools to many podcasters use to find out about their audience numbers? There are many and the common ones
The first tool is something all websites need to have in their arsenal. This can be Google Analytics or StatCounter this will let you know that there are people actually going to your web site and getting information. If you’re not getting any hits after the first month of opening the doors this will let you know that there is a problem you need to look into.
Also web Stat programs are good informing you of what your audience is wanting to know more about. If you look at the what your landing pages are, and combine that with the few keywords Google lets through, you can see what information the people coming to your site are after.
Now your WEB hosts stat program not quite the best because they show everything. Every little impression whether it is a spider crawling your site or a bot stuck in a loop. You can get many false bits of information. Good if you want an ego boost, bad if you want to help your audience.
Blubrry & Libsyn stats
There are several Podcast stat companies out there and there are more cropping up, but there are a few that are trusted in the community. Media hosting companies are pretty good in general but BluBrry and Libsyn both pride themselves in making sure to filter out the nonsense that can at times be generated because of bots and shady practices. Blubrry general stats are free but if you want to dig deep they are 5 dollars a month if you do not have hosting with them
Libsyn’s stats are for those podcasts that host with them, and are equally good.
Podtrac has positioned themselves as a podcast advertising firm but they have long been known for the free stats you are able to get through them. Compared to blubrry and libsyn their stats are good.
Feedburner was a blogging tool for people to be able to sort of track the people who subscribed to their RSS feed. The statistics it gives is there. I wouldn’t trust the numbers Feedburner says but as an RSS redirect I couldn’t recommend a better service.
Stitcher is a Podcast directory and Podcast player. This gives them a unique angle of being able to let you know not only when people listen to your show but you are also able to see how long they listen and where they dropped off in relation to the whole show.
Are they listening to your show?
Sweet, now you know about some of the services how do you tell if they are listening to your show? The easiest is to look at your Media hosts stats that are provided. This will show you that your show’s episodes are being downloaded. Yet these are not listens, and there is a difference between downloads and listens.
Downloads are the event of a mp3 file being downloaded. A listen is the act of a person consuming your content. Podcasters often want to use the downloads stats for advertisers and often with the easily obtained large download numbers, advertisers will think that the show is popular. Yet though there can be a large download number through different practices like Twitter Bombing, you can have very small number of listeners. So you want to look for the harder to find listens.
Other events that will trigger a download is Flash plugins, Autoplays, and bots. Flash auto loads the file to be ready if your listener presses play. Autoplays are an annoying way of getting download but because of the annoyance the vast majority of people instantly stop the player and though it registers as a download that person didn’t listen to the show. Then there are bots that request the file and will be triggered as a download, but I have yet have a bot buy anything from me.
Finding the elusive listener can be a little bit like being a Private Eye in that you are looking through your data over time. There are a few items that you want to look for in your stats the big list you want to employ is clients. When you go to your stats page there needs to be a clients list if you are not able to find it or your host doesn’t keep that stat. Then look to Blubrry’s Statistic service* it is only $5 and will give you all you will possibly need. Bluburry you are able to get a list of clients. This list of clients is will show you all the iTunes downloads, the Podcasts app downloads, the Pocket casts downloads, Zune, Chrome, Internet Explorer, and any other players that is available.
How I find my listeners is, I take all of these clients for a month and add them together minus the browsers and other clients that are not actual podcast players. Then average those out for four weeks. This will give me a rough idea of how many people are actually listening to the show. Then keep track of that number from month to month will give you a good idea as to if your listeners are increasing.
Why do I take the browsers out? I remove them because those are often bots hitting your site. Agreed there are actual listeners going to the site listening through the players I have on my site. But I feel those people are few and often they are just people sampling the show to see if it is worth them downloading. My actual browser listeners have a special place and they let me know they are listening by commenting on the site.
So are they listening to the whole show?
This is very difficult to show how far people have listened to a show. The best way to tell is to use Stitcher. This service is free to add your show and they give some useful stats for help to understand where your listeners are dropping off, and it will be just those people that listen to your show through stitcher not all of your listeners. So it will not give you a full idea of how people are listening to the show, but it will give you an idea.
So finding your listeners is possible in a way but getting that number is just part of the solution. Never put numbers over names getting to know who your audience is and what they do and how they use your information is the absolutely best way to find out who your listeners are. Also, when you put names over numbers you will cement you audience and help turn them into fans, and that is what we really want.