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How to Set Benchmarks to Measure Podcast Performance

Last updated on

November 2, 2023

How to Set Benchmarks to Measure Podcast Performance

Discover metrics to help set benchmarks for your podcast to measure growth and drive results

CoHost Marketing Team


 min read


Understanding how to not only track your podcast analytics but also benchmark your show against them is no easy task. 

We often see that marketers are looking to benchmark their podcasts externally but unfortunately, there’s not a lot of benchmark data about fellow creators available to the public. Therefore, we’re always recommending that if a brand wants to have a benchmark, they should be using their own show. 

It can be confusing with all of the different metrics to measure when it comes to your podcast, but there are a few key data points that will give you a meaningful picture of the success of your show. 

Let’s go through the top 10 essential podcast performance metrics that will give you powerful insights to benchmark your show:

1. Listeners per episode

One metric a podcast creator should keep an eye on is the number of listeners they have for each episode. 

For example, the first episode of a new podcast might receive 50 listeners. However, if the second episode has 150 listeners, this could indicate: 

  • Marketing and promotion are effective
  • The content is resonating with audiences 
  • Your guests are bringing listeners 

Either way, you know that the second episode is working on either the marketing, content, or guest front compared to your first episode. From here, you can continue releasing episodes that are similar in content or guest strategies and use that first successful episode as a benchmark for performance.

Remember when setting benchmarks, you don’t want to use an episode that vastly outperformed others as a benchmark. While it’s great to try to emulate what you did in that episode, you shouldn’t be setting benchmarks based on outliers. 


Downloads seem like an obvious benchmark to set, but it cannot be ignored. The number of times your show is downloaded is a direct correlation to its popularity. Downloads can also give you insight into what’s working on your show, including content, titles, format, and choice of guests. 

Over time, you’ll be able to create an average number of downloads you receive per episode. This number turns into your show's downloads benchmark. Additionally, using graphs like Downloads Over Time will show you how your show has been performing since its launch. 

Insider Tip: Typically speaking, networks and advertisers are looking to work with shows that average around 10,000 downloads a month. 

3. Average consumption rate

The average consumption rate for an episode will help you understand a number of things when it comes to your audience:

  • The ideal show length to keep audiences engaged
  • If you need to change  areas of your show due to a high drop-off rate in certain sections (i.e., intro, bridge music, ad placement, long-form answers)
  • Where you should place your CTAs to ensure the optimal number of listeners hear it  

We typically say that anything above 70% of your consumption rate is good. But whether you're above or below 70%, compare each episode’s consumption to get a better idea of what type of content, format, and guests your audience enjoys. 

Insider Tip: With platforms like CoHost, you can get your overall show consumption rate rather than just your episode consumption rate. This metric gives you a bigger picture of your content's overall performance. 

4. Website Traffic

Having a podcast website is recommended and publishing every new episode to your website will help increase traffic to your website. 

Measuring traffic is a great benchmark since it tells you which episodes are interesting to your audience and what you should focus on. Website performance will also examine content that supports your podcast such as blogs, transcriptions, embedded videos, etc. These are all additional mediums to leverage when benchmarking performance such as the number of readers a blog had or how many audiences engaged with your video. 

So next time there’s a spike in traffic after an episode launch, explore how that episode is resonating! 

5. Social media

You're probably using social media to promote your podcast – everything from Instagram and Facebook to LinkedIn and TikTok (depending on who your audience is). 

Keep an eye on what people say about your podcast, the number of likes and shares your posts receive, and the number of clicks on your podcast links. Social media assists in boosting podcast awareness, building a more connected audience, and driving new listeners to your podcast. 

If you’re testing different promotion tactics whether it’s the type of copy, creative, or channel you’re using, ensure that you use those findings as benchmarks for future performance and insights. 

Insider Tip: Make sure you’re using trackable links when promoting your podcast so you can measure click to downloads. In order to set benchmarks for channel performance, you need to measure attribution. 

6. Reviews and rankings

It’s important to track reviews and rankings to see what people are saying about your show. Feedback is helpful in improving future content and gives you a sense of what your show is doing well. 

You can use reviews as part of your marketing strategy when it comes to promoting your podcast. Good reviews over time will help build your podcast’s credibility and reputation and it means more people who stumble upon your show might choose to download and tune in.

Insider Tip: Remember, positive reviews are like free advertising. When someone leaves your first positive review, it’s a great opportunity to share it with potential guests, partners, or advertisers. 

7. Press and invitations 

If you’ve been podcasting for some time, you’ve likely carved a niche for yourself in your industry and are seen as a thought leader. Pay attention to key things such as: 

  • Are you frequently invited to guest speak on other podcasts in your industry?
  • Have you been invited to contribute to blogs? 
  • Do sponsors actively reach out to you?

If so, your podcast is resonating with audiences and successfully positioning you as an expert in your space. Over time, keep your pulse on how quickly your growth is happening and the positive changes you’re making that contribute (and do more of that!).  

Bonus tip: Benchmarking against other podcasts 

As we mentioned above, it’s challenging to effectively benchmark podcast performance between different shows. But if your company is still interested in using a competitor show as a benchmark or inspiration for performance, you can focus on aspects like: 

  • Guests
  • Content
  • Format
  • Audience size on social media
  • Website performance with the help of tools like Moz and Semrush

Additionally, you can use tools like Rephonic or Podchaser to get an estimated benchmark of podcast performance.

However, make sure when comparing your show to another, there are similarities:

  • They’re in the same industry
  • They have a similar target audience
  • They launched in a similar timeframe or are of similar sizes 

How to set benchmarks to measure your podcast performance

Setting benchmarks to measure podcast performance is essential to grow your audience and create high-quality content that resonates. By tracking metrics like listeners per episode, downloads, and engagement, you can gain valuable insights into your audience, optimize your marketing strategy, and improve the overall performance of your podcast.

However, it's important to remember that metrics alone are not enough. To truly improve your podcast performance, you need to develop a holistic strategy that focuses on creating engaging and informative content, promoting your show on multiple platforms, collaborating with other creators, and continuously improving your content based on listener feedback.

If you’re curious to learn more or want to set up your podcast for success by tracking and setting the right benchmarks, feel free to get in touch with our team.