Guide to Measuring Podcast Downloads in 2024

Below I am going to explain everything you need to know to measure podcast downloads.

In relation to measuring downloads of a podcast, you will probably think: “What nonsense! There is nothing to explain. Downloads are the number of people who press play. Well, the truth is that, in fact, today there is no universal criterion to measure podcast downloads. Come on, each platform measures downloads in its own way.   

Therefore, it is important to explain how to measure the shamelessness of a podcast, among other things, because this will be important for investors to promote themselves on your program.

Let’s go by parts:

1. There is no universal criterion to measure podcast downloads

As we already explained in the third part of this guide, there are numerous hosting platforms (the Internet space where your podcast is located). And each one offers podcasters some statistics or another. Some allow you to know the number of views of your episodes, while in others you can know the viewing time of each episode or the number of people who have shared your podcast through social networks.    

However, the main problem is that, although there is a clear definition of what is known as a “single user” (how many people), the concept of “podcast downloads” is not defined. In other words, everyone understands by “downloads” whatever they feel like (or what interests them most).   

The consequence  (logically negative) of all this is that, without reliable and universal metrics, no advertiser wants to put in money. Among other things, questions arise such as: how many people really listen to your podcast? How much money should I invest? 

1.1 What is meant by “downloads”?

The main problem, as we just mentioned, is that the platforms do not agree on what is meant by “downloads.” And you may wonder, how is it possible that the real number of people listening to a program is unknown? Well, basically it is because problems such as the following arise:   

  • When a person listens to a podcast multiple times, how many of these are counted as downloads?  Come on, if a person listens to a podcast 5 times, depending on the metrics used, this can be counted as 5 different people having listened to the podcast when the reality is that they have not. And this, for an investor, generates anything but confidence.
  • Another example: imagine that you start listening to a podcast, you enter a parking lot and you lose coverage. Two minutes later, when you leave the parking lot, you continue listening to it. After 10 minutes, something interesting happens to you and you call a friend to tell them, so you cut the audio player again. And when you hang up, you press play again. How many downloads would be counted there? Unfortunately, we cannot answer this question, that is the problem.       

And these are just two of the many cases that we could mention. However, what is clear is that this is not an idyllic situation.

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1.2 The concept of “single user”, the salvation so far

Assuming that there is no perfect and universal measurement, it is true that the concept of “single user” is well defined. Furthermore, it is the best approximation to what we understand by several people, although it is not the same. However, most podcasts can usually be listened to on several platforms (which use different metrics), which makes it even more difficult to know the exact figures.  

So who certifies the numbers? Who decides what criteria to follow? It seems we have to rely on the goodwill of podcasters. And, the consequence of all this is that each one publishes the statistics that best suit them, playing with the concepts of “downloads” and “listeners.” Furthermore, something similar happens with radio stations.    

1.3 Why has no one solved this problem so far?

If the problem with metrics is so obvious, why hasn’t anyone gotten to work on fixing it?  There are several aspects that we must keep in mind:

  • On the one hand, it is worth noting that professional podcasting production companies have only been around for a couple of years in Spain, as it is an industry that was barely developing until not long ago. Therefore, in the same way that UTECA measures audiences on television, AEDE in printed newspapers, and AERC in traditional radio, there is no similar association in podcasts.     
  • On the other hand, there are podcasting associations and directories in Spain that have tried to solve this problem. However, all of them have been developed in the amateur field, which has hindered their aspirations to unify the meaning of each metric.   

1.4 Attempts to unify measurement criteria

The first serious attempt to unify measurement criteria has been carried out by podcast aggregator companies, such as Ivoox or Spreaker, to name a few. Both publicly offer the number of downloads of each audio uploaded to their servers. In this way, we no longer have to rely so much on the data offered by each program.   

However, the problem mentioned above remains: what is turned on by “shock”?

2. IAB metrics: the most accepted solution

Now, let’s go with the most accepted solution: the IAB  (Interactive Advertising Bureau) metrics, whose literal translation is “Interactive Advertising Office.” These metrics, as could not be otherwise, come from the United States, where the podcast is a few years ahead of us. And, basically, they clearly define each of the metrics, clearing up any doubt that may exist.

So what counts as a “download” according to IAB metrics?  A maximum of 2 connections to a file in 24 hours per IP, browser, or application and requested file.

2.1 What problems do IAB metrics raise?

The main problem with IAB metrics is that there are still many platforms that have not implemented them, so there is still confusion around concepts such as “downloads.” If you review part three of our Guide to Creating a Podcast, How to Host a Podcast, you can find which platforms use IAB metrics and which don’t.    

In any case, these metrics have solved a large part of the problem we are developing, allowing listeners, podcasters, and investors to know in more detail the real number of people who listen to a certain podcast. 

At Procareershop we want to give you one last recommendation: if you are about to create your podcast, do so by hosting your program on a platform that uses the IAB measurement criteria. This way, if your podcast prospers and you want to get investment, you can do it in a much simpler way.

How can I promote my podcast?

Once you have started and published your podcast, it is very important to spread it to reach new listeners. Reaching your potential audience is essential, and in the long run, it will allow you to build a community and achieve your goals. But how can you achieve it? Keep reading because we bring you the 5 best marketing strategies to promote your podcast, reach your target audience, and build loyalty.

#01: Content is king

The first thing you should keep in mind is that social networks reward consistency and quality. Find your niche and spread attractive content regularly and include the keywords of your sector in the descriptions and titles of your posts!

We also recommend opening a custom profile for your podcast. It’s the best place to share each of your episodes, but don’t stop there. The most important thing is to provide value to your audience, so it is best not to stop publishing between programs. Share news related to the podcast that is of interest, and create infographics with key information or content generated by your own listeners or by experts in the field… Your imagination is the limit, but try it to see what works best for you!

#02: Adapt the message

You can be on different social networks to promote your podcast, but depending on your content and audience you will focus more on one or the other. If you decide to combine them, it is best to adapt your posts to achieve the best results in each of them. For example, if you have a cooking podcast, you can prepare micro videos of your recipes for Instagram or TikTok, and threads about food on Twitter.

#03: Generate community

It will help you build loyalty with your audience and keep them involved with your content. You can achieve this by doing contests, raffles, surveys, or publishing any type of post that generates interaction. In addition, it is very important to respond to the comments your followers make on the podcast since public conversations add value and experience tells us that programs with comments and responses are the most listened to.

#04: Share your podcast on your website or blog

Creating a blog from pages like WordPress is free, and it’s also easier than you think. Use it to share more information about your episodes and embed the entire show with the playback widget. Use it to enrich your content and get new listeners!

Work on the SEO and web positioning of your site and position yourself as a true expert in your niche. Working well on this part of your content will help you generate a powerful community and discover new users. 

#05: Make your podcast SEO-Friendly

Your logo, cover art, titles, descriptions, and the choice of keywords you use are the main attractions of your podcast and play a fundamental role in attracting new listeners. These are the best tips to work on the SEO of your podcast:

  • Use the cover to convey your value proposition: The name of the podcast must be legible, and it is also good to include some visual element or claim where you specify its theme and make it clear.
  • Customize the covers of your episodes: Make them unique, but try to make them all follow the same line of design and style.
  • To headline, do it…
    • In a concise and direct way. In a few words, you must make the theme of your program clear, as if it were a newspaper headline.
    • Descriptive. Descriptive titles will help new users discover you and feel attracted to listening to your content, and in the long run, it will help you position yourself better in the search engine on different topics.
    • Generating intrigue. Ask questions with hooks, where to find an answer the listener has to press play.
  • Include keywords in your titles and descriptions: Identify the terms that users search for to answer questions about your niche, and then present your episodes to offer them answers. Include these keywords in the texts of your audio to position yourself as an expert and be found!
  • Publish evergreen content: That provides value today but also in 6 months. Your episodes will be highly visible over time, and it’s a great way to promote your podcast.

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