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Podcast analytics: All you need to know

Why podcast analytics are so confusing, which stats matter, and how to find your analytics

Podcast Analytics

Updated April 4, 2024 /

Posted November 2, 2020

/ Megan Heibert

Quick Note: Some of the links in this blog may be affiliate links which will give us a small commission fee (at no extra cost to you).
Ultimately, by utilizing podcast analytics, you are more equipped to serve your listeners and craft content that is better suited for them.

Podcast analytics are sometimes treated as a long-lost cousin that we don’t quite know how to interact with. We don’t really know how to access them, or even what we should do with them. However, it is well worth the time and energy to learn about podcast metrics and data so you can better serve your podcast listeners and expand your overall impact.

Before we jump in, let’s clarify that podcast analytics are a set of data points to help you know how well your podcast is performing. This can include how many people have listened, how much they listened to, what your top-performing episodes are, geographic locations for your listeners, and more.

Why do podcast analytics matter?

To serve your audience

Podcast analytics provide an analysis of listener data that gives you, the podcast host, an insight into your audience. They help you better understand who is listening to your content and on what platform. Ultimately, by utilizing podcast analytics, you are more equipped to serve your listeners and craft content that is better suited for them.

  • How many people have listened?
  • When and where have they listened?
  • Where do they live and how did they access your podcast?
  • How much of an episode did they listen to and at what point did they stop listening?
  • What are your highest ranking episodes?

All of this data allows you to gauge how your content is landing with your listeners.
From there, you can then evaluate possibly changing things up in order to better suit your audience. It’s important to keep referring back to these analytics because they’re prone to keep changing and you want to be informed as you continue to produce content.

To gauge your growth​

When you intentionally track the performance of your podcast, you’ll be able to gauge your growth in order to keep enhancing your effectiveness. There are always ways to improve and studying your analytics are one easy way to do so. By staying aware of how your podcast is growing, you increase your chance of making it profitable.

To measure your monetization potential

These analytics matter because they help to measure your monetization potential. Podcasts often include advertisements, where a sponsor will pay for ad space based on how many per-thousand listeners download your episodes. This is called CPM (“cost per mille” – “thousand” in Latin).

For example, if a podcaster charges $10 CPM and your episodes are downloaded five thousand times, the sponsor will pay $50. Thus, simply by reviewing how many people are downloading your episodes, you can begin to strategize how to create ad space on your show and make money.

Why are podcast analytics so confusing?

Why are Podcast Analytics So Confusing?

Podcast analytics have caused a lot of confusion and stress over the years for many podcasters. At first, it seems simple: just log into your podcast hosting platform and look at the stats. But it’s not always that easy. Let me explain why.

Each podcast has a unique RSS feed that has to be submitted to all the major podcast directories. Most of these directories download your episode though your hosting platform every time a new listener downloads an episode. But some, like Spotify, have a “walled garden” which means they download your podcast from your RSS feed onto their servers once and then share it to your listeners. This is why some hosting platforms exclude the data from Spotify entirely within the analytics they provide you for your show.

The fragmentation between the analytics from Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and the rest of the directories, large and small alike, can lead to misleading data about your show.

Recently, Apple Podcasts downloads on Apple Watches were causing inflated numbers on some shows since the devices automatically downloaded a copy of the show to a separate device. IAB Tech Labs pushed for Apple Watch Downloads to be filtered out from download data so that these inflated numbers would be fixed over the summer of 2020. This is one example of the confusions and conflated data that sometimes leads shows astray when studying their podcast analytics.

While the technologies for analytics are advancing and new innovations are happening in the industry, it’s important to be aware of some of the challenges to piece together a complete picture of how well your podcast is performing.

Resonate - All-in-one podcast services

What is the difference between downloads, streams, and listens?

The number of downloads has always been an important datapoint in podcasting. But with advancements in podcast directories like Apple, Google, and Spotify, new methods for experiencing podcasts have evolved. For example, Apple Podcasts allows you to download only new episodes of a show after you either subscribe, download all episodes, download single episodes, or stream an episode. Simplecast has done an excellent job of explaining the default settings for downloading and streaming across the top listening apps.

Downloads are counted when a device downloads a copy of an episode to their local device storage. But unfortunately, a user can download a show without ever listening to it. That’s why we highly encourage podcasters to pay attention to stats like Apple Podcast Connect’s “Average Consumption” which shows how long the audience is tuning in.

Streams are when users listen to podcast audio on a directory without downloading a copy of the episode to their local device. Streaming also refers to when platforms like Spotify download a single copy of your podcast episode and lock it behind their “garden wall.” From there, they can allow users to stream or download a copy of an episode. Many hosting platforms do not pull the analytics from Spotify because this garden wall can lead to inaccurate data.

Listens are the number of actual times that a user pressed play on a podcast, whether by downloading or streaming the episode. This metric is very important to understanding how the audience is actually engaging with your content. Unfortunately, according to Podnews, many hosting platforms do not have the capability to tell the difference between the number of downloads vs. actual listens.

How to understand podcast subscribers

There are dozens of ways to subscribe and listen to a podcast, from different apps like the “big dogs” Apple, Spotify, Google, or from smaller apps like Overcast, Himalaya, Castro, or even from YouTube, Amazon, Pandora, and iHeart Radio (just to name a few). Because there are so many platforms where users can subscribe, it is very difficult to determine the official number of subscribers that a podcast has. Individual platforms, like Apple, share data such as how many listeners who heard an episode have subscribed to the show, but it is very difficult to find out the official subscribe count a show has because of the separations in data ownership across all of the directories.

While it would be nice to know the exact amount of subscribers a show has, this is not ultimately the most important metric. Instead, we recommend focusing on the data that shows how well your audience (no matter how big or small) is engaging with the audio.

Which podcast analytics are most important?

Which Podcast Analytics are Most Important?

Number of actual listens

Like we mentioned above, the number of times your audience actually listens is far more important than even the number of downloads.

Top performing episodes

Seeing which episodes have the highest number of listens can help you determine what content is most appealing to your listeners. Perhaps it is performing better than other episodes because of the title, content matter, length, etc. You can utilize this data by comparing top-performing episodes to those with a lower number of listens.

Average consumption (listen and watch time)

The average consumption shows you how long listeners are engaging with your content and where they are dropping off. Studying the performance of your individual episodes is crucial to understanding how your content is really performing on a granular level. By studying where listeners are skipping and dropping off of an episode, you can learn a lot about your audience and the type of content they want.

Are your episodes far too long or do they need to be broken up into multiple sections to keep listeners engaged? This point was inspired by Pacific Content’s compelling article on the most important podcast stat that nobody is talking about. I highly recommend checking out their resources to learn more about podcasting.

Audience demographics

Who is listening to your podcast? It is important to know if you are reaching your target audience, so you can adjust your content accordingly. Maybe you are consistently reaching a gender or location you weren’t expecting — knowing this can make you a better podcast host as you cater towards those actually listening.

Spotify for Podcasters has some great data collecting tools for studying your audience demographics. They show you the gender and age of your listeners, but also show you “artists they’re listening to” in Spotify. This information can help you get a more well-rounded look at who your audience is. To see a more holistic picture, though, you will still need to pull data from other platforms like Apple, Google, and your hosting provider.

How to find podcast analytics​

How to Find Podcast Analytics

Observing your podcast analytics will only be helpful to you if you know where to find them. Because of how the podcast eco-system of RSS feeds and podcast directories work, this can be somewhat of a confusing process when you are starting out.

There are four main sources for tracking analytics, and then a number of third-party solutions for enhancing your data. To accurately track the performance of your podcast across all of the directories, you need access to the following platforms.

  • Podcast hosting platform
  • Apple Podcasts Connect
  • Spotify for Podcasters
  • YouTube Studio analytics
  • Third-party analytics platforms

1. Podcast hosting platform analytics

Whichever podcast hosting platform you have chosen to host your podcast will have some sort of analytic capability. This should really be a key factor in determining a hosting platform, because of how important this data is to the long-term effectiveness of your podcast.

Hosting platforms typically aggregate the data for your podcast across all of the main podcast directories, as well as the data from their podcast microsite (if they offer one) and website embed players.

Hosting platforms typically show the number of downloads, where listeners are downloading your show (Apple, Spotify, Google, Overcast, etc), and top geographic locations for listeners. Some also go further and show the average consumption time and what time of day listeners are tuning in.

2. Apple Podcasts Connect

Apple podcasts connect

Image Source: TechCrunch

Once you submit your RSS feed to Apple Podcasts Connect, you will get access to Apple Podcasts’ suite of analytics.

Apple can show you: 

  • Number of unique devices (per show and per episode)
  • Total time listened (per show and per episode)
  • Average time listened (per show and per episode)
  • Average Consumption

We recommend paying special attention to the average consumption of your episodes to better understand how well your content is performing, how long listeners are engaging, and any common factors that might be leading to listener dropoff.

It’s important to understand that Apple’s analytics are only reflecting data from users who listened to your podcast on Apple Podcasts (across any and all Apple devices). This does not include analytics from Spotify, Google, or any other podcast directories. While Apple is one of the largest platforms, accounting for a massive chunk of podcast consumption, it is not the only platform where users can subscribe.

To get started with Apple Podcasts Connect you need to submit your RSS feed from your hosting platform. Learn more about how to submit a show to Apple Podcasts to claim your data here.

3. Spotify for podcasters dashboard

Spotify for Podcasters

Image Source: TechCrunch

To see the data for your podcast on Spotify, log in to the Spotify podcast dashboard.

Spotify for Podcasters will show you some in-depth insights into how well your audience is engaging with your content. They offer data for the podcast as a whole and for individual episodes as well.

The unique thing about Spotify podcasts is that they are able to collect more data from your audience because of their unique position as a music streaming service and podcast directory. In fact, they already use this power to show podcasters what musical artists their listeners have been engaging with recently.  This will show you total downloads, average listen, and music your audience listens to so you can better target them.

Spotify for Podcasters can show you: 

  • Number of starts and streams
  • Individual episode performance
  • Number of unique listeners and followers
  • Gender, age, and geography breakdowns

You can learn more about each of these specific stats in their quick guide to Spotify’s Podcast Analytics. Additionally, if you haven’t set up your podcast to distribute on Spotify, you can learn how in our guide here.

4. YouTube Studio Analytics ​

YouTube Studio Analytics

Image Source: Google Help

If you post a video podcast on YouTube, you can utilize the YouTube Studio analytics dashboard to study how well your show is performing. YouTube has been building out their analytics tools for many years which can be really valuable for podcasters.

YouTube Studio Analytics Includes 

  • Overview analytics (views, watch time, subscribers)
  • Reach (impressions, traffic source, breakdown of the performance of each traffic source)
  • Engagement (top videos, top playlists, top end cards)
  • Audience (when viewers an on YouTube, gender, age, top geographies)

As you study the data from your podcast on YouTube, you can also make some general extrapolations about the type of audience you are attracting. This information can be used to fill in a more complete picture of how well your podcast is performing and how to keep improving your content.

Bonus: Third-party sources

After collecting data from your podcast hosting platform and individual directories, there are still a couple more tools that are able to help you fill in some final data about your podcast.

Check out these tools:

  • Chartable
  • Podtrac
  • RadioPublic
  • Blubrry


Chartable Podcast Analytics

Chartable provides podcast analytics tools to both publishers and advertisers. They offer marketing tools for podcast publishers to help track the marketing and monetization of a podcast.

Their top features are Smartlinks, SmartPromos, and SmartAds.

Smartlinks are a clickable link for sharing your podcast on social media and other channels that will recognize what device a user is on (eg, iPhone or Android) in order to share the appropriate link to Apple or Google podcasts. These links also track what channels people come from and whether they download an episode once they click through the link. This is a super effective tool for using on social media, email newsletters, and other external marketing efforts, so we highly recommend this tool.

SmartPromos help podcasters track the performance of trailers and other podcast ads (both baked in and dynamic ads) shared on other podcast feeds.

SmartAds are a cutting-edge technology in beta-testing that track the effectiveness of podcast advertisements. By tracking things like IP address and user agent, they compare users listening to a podcast ad to their actions on a website to try to measure the performance of ad campaigns.


RadioPublic Podcast Analytics

RadioPublic primarily provides marketing tools for podcasters such as a podcast website, embed players, and timestamped podcast links. But they also offer a really interesting integration with Google Analytics that tracks events on your Radiopublic Podsite such as how long listeners are playing episodes on your website.


Podtrac Podcast Analytics

Podtrac provides aggregated data to track your podcast trends and audience across all of the channels your podcast is on. They are IAB Tech Lab compliant and provide an excellent overview of your podcast stats. They also have a Podtrac survey tool which helps you directly request data from your audience such as education, income, job function, and more.


Blubrry provides advanced podcast analytic features for data-driven performance. They are first a podcast hosting platform but also offer their analytics tools to podcasters who host on other platforms as well. They can help supplement your podcast host’s data if you are currently on a hosting platform that doesn’t support all of the specific analytics you want to see.

Resonate podcast hosting analytics​

Resonate Hosting Analytics

When you choose to host your podcast with Resonate, we provide high-quality analytics to help you best serve your audience. We offer a dashboard that gives detailed data on:

  • Top-performing episodes
  • Podcast players your listeners are using
  • Embed player: how many listeners finish the episode, where they played, seeked, or scrubbed during an episode, downloadable report with all user engagement data

With these features, you will be able to measure the effectiveness of your content and track how your audience is engaging with your podcast, so you can make adjustments accordingly. You can learn more about Resonate Hosting Analytics in this post from our CTO, or you can sign up for a 14-day free trial here.  We would love to talk with you about how we can help meet your hosting and analytics needs!


Podcast analytics give you the unique opportunity to get a glimpse into your audience’s engagement with your podcast. By giving heed to these metrics, you will be better equipped to produce podcast content that will create a growing base of loyal listeners.

If you’re looking for a platform that has awesome built-in analytics, check out Resonate Recordings’ hosting platform. It’s super user-friendly, making it easy to track important stuff like key performance indicators (KPIs) and connect with other third-party analytics tools. 

If you have any questions about how to analyze your podcast data, feel free to schedule a call with our team!

FAQs: Understand Podcast Analytics

What are the best podcast analytics tools?

There are four main podcast analytics tools you need:

  1. Your podcast hosting platform (Ex: Resonate Hosting, Buzzsprout, Megaphone)
  2. Apple Podcasts Connect
  3. Spotify for Podcasters
  4. YouTube Studio
  5. Bonus! Third-party platforms like Chartable, PodTrac, and RadioPublic

Because of how podcasting works (one RSS feed sends out to many directories), the analytics are often fragmented across platforms. There are pros and cons to this, but each platform has a slightly different advantage for what data it can share.

At the end of the day, your podcast hosting platform is a great place to start out to get a high-level view of your downloads, listens, and listener demographics.

How can I find out how many listeners a podcast has?

The number of listeners a podcast has is typically private data that can be accessed by the creator of a show in their podcast hosting platform, on Apple Podcasts Connect, Spotify for Podcasters, or through various third-party tools. However, you can see the number of views that a podcast has if they publish on YouTube. Keep in mind this only shows you the number of downloads within the YouTube, not other apps like Spotify. Still, it’s a good proxy to see how popular a show is.

Where can I find free podcast analytics?

You can use Spotify for Podcasters (previously Anchor) to host your podcast for free and get access to a high-level dashboard of podcast stats. Aside from your hosting platform, Apple Podcasts and YouTube Studio Analytics are also free to use! Even the third-party platform Chartable has a free plan to unlock podcast analytics. However, it requires you to upgrade to unlock more advanced features.

How do podcast analytics work?

So, have you ever wondered how podcast analytics work? Basically, they keep track of things like how many people are downloading your episodes, how many unique listeners you have, how long people are listening for, what devices they’re using, and even where they’re tuning in from. So basically, podcast analytics dashboards, like the Resonate Recordings one, take all the data and make it easy for podcast creators to see what their audiences like and don’t like. This helps them make better content and keep their listeners happy. If you’re looking to track your podcast’s performance, there are some great analytics tools out there which have integrations with the Resonate Hosting Platform Analytics such as, Apple Podcasts Connect, Podtrac, or Chartable.

Why are podcast analytics important?

Well, podcast analytics are important because they help you understand how your podcast is performing. You can see how many people are listening, where they’re listening from, and how long they’re listening for. This information can help you make decisions about how to improve your podcast and attract more listeners.

Are podcast analytics accurate?

It really comes down to the quality of the analytics tool you’re using when it comes to how accurate your podcast analytics are. Platforms like Apple Podcasts Connect Analytics are considered quite reliable across the industry. They follow all the industry standards set by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). It’s important to look at multiple sources when you’re trying to figure out how well something is doing. No one platform has all the info you need, but the Resonate Hosting Platform is a good start.

Have more questions? Schedule a free discovery call with our team to learn more!

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Megan Heibert

Megan is a senior at the University of Louisville, where her passion for people, writing, and digital media have led her to studying Communications. She enjoys finding new coffee or donut shops, traveling, listening to a variety of music, and watching thriller movies.

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