Media podcast statistics and web statistics are two completely different measurements.
Media podcast statistics measure all media downloads and are not exclusive to web browsers. They also include desktop, smartphone, tablet and cloud-based applications that, in most cases, are “subscribed” to a podcast. The intent is to measure who listened or watched the podcast episode.
Web statistics measure user interaction with a website through a web browser. Some advanced services can track when links are clicked as well as how long the visitor remains on your website. The intent is to measure what is “read” on given pages.
It is important to note that on average only 10 percent of a podcast’s downloads come from web browsers. Some 90 percent of downloads originate from podcast-specific applications that are in most cases subscribed to the podcast.
Web Statistics for a Podcast
Web statistics are a wonderful tool in your arsenal of podcast measurement, but they are not as important as media download statistics.
Page loads and unique visitors do not equate to podcast plays or downloads
Most of your web visitors are not going to play or download your media on every page-load or visit. Conditions need to be right for the visitor to decide to click play. Can they listen to a podcast or are they on a computer with no speakers or headphones? The visitor could be at work in a cubical and not want her colleagues to hear what she’s watching. They could be already listening or watching something else or won’t play the podcast because they came to the website for another reason. Lots of things factor in. Do not assume page views equal podcast downloads.
Web statistics are only one part of the overall picture
Some 90 percent of your plays/downloads come from subscribed applications such as iTunes that automatically download your latest episode upon its release. Typically, your podcast audience will subscribe to your podcast and download the episodes without ever vising your website.
Use your website and web statistics to measure audience engagement
Web statistics are useful for a completely different type of measurement: audience engagement. In a nutshell, your main goal is to encourage your podcast listeners to visit your website after they listen/watch your show. Giving them a specific webpage URL midway into the episode will give you insight as to how engaged your audience is with your content. Just remember, someone who listens to your podcast on Tuesday might not visit your site to learn more on a given subject until days after, if at all. Do not assume media download statistics will equal audience engagement.
Measure your Podcast with Media Download Statistics
An ideal solution is to measure your podcast with media download statistics such as Blubrry Media Statistics or RawVoice Professional Media Statistics. The services measure each download separately, gather client, platform and geographic information, calculate daily and monthly trends and much more.
Get an idea of how many subscribers you have
Though it is not 100 percent possible to detect when someone is subscribed to a podcast, a general rule is that when a new episode is released, the first three days of downloads are predominately from your subscribed audience. Web statistics will not see this spike.
Measuring long-tail, your podcast archive
Your podcast archive, or what we sometimes call in the industry “long-tail” or “evergreen content”, is also measured with media download statistics. After the first three days of an episode’s release, downloads tend to drop to almost zero. Occasionally you will get a small spike, but in general it’s a flat-line compared to the initial release. Your long-tail will grow over time as your audience grows, and is a good indication that your content is both valuable to your audience and a tool to recruit new audience members.
Assessing your marketing and promotion strategy
There are many ways to assess the success of your podcast using your podcast download media statistics. The most important strategy is to increase subscribers. For the most part, applications that are not web browsers have the capability of subscribing to your podcast. If your distribution is heavily web browser-based, you might want to reassess your marketing and promotion strategy.
- Is your podcast listed and up-to-date on iTunes and on the others podcast directories you submitted it to?
- Are you putting enough time and resources into promoting your podcast (replying to threads in forums, joining user groups, leaving comments on similar blogs, reaching out with social media: Twitter/Facebook/Google +, attending meetups and conferences, etc.)?
- Are you taking the time to craft the correct keywords and phrases to capture new subscribers in iTunes?
- Are you posting information that draws your audience in or engages them?