Discover how CoHost can improve marketing performance

book a demo

Resources / 

Podcast Analytics


CoHost’s Ultimate Podcast Analytics Dictionary

Last updated on

February 19, 2024

CoHost’s Ultimate Podcast Analytics Dictionary

Unlock the world of podcast metrics with CoHost’s Ultimate Podcast Analytics Dictionary. Dive deep into key terminologies, optimize your podcast strategy, and enhance listener engagement. Master podcast analytics today!

Tianna Marinucci


 min read


While it hasn’t always been easy to understand podcast analytics, the tools we use to measure performance are improving every day. 

At CoHost, our mission is to provide brands, agencies, and other creators with the analytics they need to understand who their audience is and the true performance of their podcast. 

A large branch of all of this is to educate our users on the world of podcast analytics and how to better track what matters most to your brand. 

In this comprehensive guide, we've compiled a list of need-to-know podcast analytics terms and definitions, demystifying the jargon that surrounds the podcasting industry. 

We'll also delve into how you can harness the power of these analytics to create a successful podcast that meets your goals and creates an impact on your target audience.

Industry Terms to Know

In this section, we define the key terms you’ll need to know to stay on top of industry jargon. 

Podcasting Hosting Platform: Podcast hosting is a service that stores and delivers your show to listening platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, and more. To do so, a hosting platform generates an RSS feed (unique URL for your podcast), which you submit to the listening platforms for approval. Once approved, you’re all set to schedule and publish new podcast episodes as you see fit.

Listening App/Platform: A software or mobile application designed to stream, download, and manage podcasts. These apps enable users to discover, subscribe to, and listen to shows. Popular examples include Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Amazon Music. These apps facilitate easy access to a vast library of audio content for users along with providing performance analytics for podcasters.

Prefix: A URL prepend is added to the enclosure URL in the RSS feed to collect data on who is listening. Prefixes are commonly used by supplementary analytics providers for hosting platforms. Users may sign up for a software that offers a prefix in order to get more in-depth analytics around their podcast.

RSS Feed: An RSS feed is a link that holds all of the information about the show and “feeds” it into the listening apps. 

What this means for you: 

Industry metrics provide a standardized way to evaluate the success and performance of a podcast. This is important because it allows brands, agencies, and creators to determine if their podcast is meeting its intended goals and objectives. Are you on all the listening apps? Have you made it to the top charts?

Remember, different podcast hosting platforms and distribution channels may have varying levels of metrics accessibility. Knowing which metrics are available on your chosen platform can inform your decision-making when selecting where to host and promote your podcast.

Podcast Growth Analytics

When it comes to creating a successful podcast, understanding your audience and the impact of your content is key. 

In this section, we'll dive into essential metrics that help podcasters and advertisers gauge the reach and popularity of their shows.

Unique Listeners: The number of individual devices (iPhone, computer, etc.) that have played your show. For example, if I played a podcast episode four times, it would be counted as four downloads but only one unique listener. As a result, this is the metric that's truest to a traditional reach metric, aka the number of individual listeners your podcast has.

Unique Listeners Over Time: The cumulative number of individuals who have listened to a podcast episode or series over a specified period. It measures the number of different people who have engaged with the content, regardless of how many times they have accessed it. This metric is essential for podcasters and advertisers to gauge the overall reach and sustained interest in a podcast, helping them assess its long-term popularity and audience retention.

Downloads: Every play you’ve received on your podcast for 60 seconds or more.

Downloads Over Time: The accumulation and distribution of podcast episode downloads across a specified period. It is a metric used to track the popularity and reach of a podcast by monitoring how many times its episodes have been accessed or downloaded by listeners over a given timeframe. 

Subscribers: Users who have chosen to regularly receive and access new episodes of a podcast series. When someone subscribes to a podcast, it means they have opted to automatically download or stream new episodes as they are released, ensuring that they stay up-to-date with the content. The number of subscribers can influence a podcast's ranking and visibility on podcast directories and platforms. Remember that a subscriber doesn’t automatically equate to a listener.

What this means for you:

Tracking growth metrics provides valuable insights into your podcast's reach, impact, and success.

Specifically, they offer tangible evidence of your podcast's performance. Success can be measured in various ways, such as achieving specific subscriber milestones, hitting download targets, or increasing unique listener numbers over time. 

It's worth noting that different podcasts might prioritize different metrics depending on their goals. For example, a podcast that relies heavily on sponsorships might prioritize unique listener data to show potential sponsors the size and engagement of their audience. On the other hand, a podcast that's focused on repeated listeners might prioritize download data.

Moreover, these metrics guide decision-making. By analyzing which episodes perform best in terms of downloads or unique listeners, you can identify topics or formats that resonate most with your audience. This insight allows you to refine your content strategy and consistently deliver high-quality episodes that keep listeners engaged.

Engagement Analytics

Knowing how engaged your listeners are with your podcast content is essential for building an audience and growing your show over time. 

Here are some trusted engagement analytics to track, so you can be confident in your data-driven decision-making.

Consumption Rate: How much of a podcast episode listeners are listening to before dropping off. The consumption rate is calculated on a percentage basis, so the closer you can get to 100%, the better. A good goal to set is to try to maintain an average consumption rate of at least 75% but you should aim for closer to 80%. This means that listeners are tuning in for a little over three-quarters of your episode.

Listen Rate: Listen rate refers to the measurement or percentage of how many people who start listening to a podcast episode complete the entire episode. Listen rate provides insights into the effectiveness of a podcast's content and whether it can maintain the interest of its audience throughout an episode. A high listen rate indicates that a podcast has a dedicated and engaged audience, while a low listen rate may suggest that listeners are dropping off before concluding an episode.

Episode Release Comparison: A chart that gives you an apples-to-apples comparison of how much your episodes are being played within their first 7 days, 14 days, or 30 days. This is a great indication of how well your launch tactics are working. 

What this means for you:

Tracking engagement metrics such as consumption and listen rate is crucial for evaluating the success of your podcast for several reasons. First and foremost, these metrics provide valuable insights into your podcast's performance and audience behavior, allowing you to make informed decisions and improvements.

For instance, engagement metrics are invaluable when it comes to attracting advertisers and sponsors. Advertisers want to know their messages will reach an engaged and attentive audience – consumption and listen rate metrics provide evidence of this. A podcast with high engagement metrics can command higher advertising rates and attract more lucrative partnerships.

Additionally, monitoring these metrics helps you assess the quality and relevance of your content. For example, A high listen rate suggests that your audience finds your podcast engaging and valuable, while a low listen rate may indicate that your content needs improvement or that you're targeting the wrong audience. 

Audience Insights Analytics

Who’s really listening to your podcast? Rely on these audience insights analytics to make sure you’re reaching and resonating with your target audience. 

Demographics: Found in most listening apps or hosting platforms, basic demographics include the age, sometimes location, and popular listening time of your audience. 

Advanced Audience Demographics: A CoHost-specific feature that reveals the basic demographic information listed above as well as interests, hobbies, social media platforms, social media behaviors, household income, family members, and lifestyles of your listeners.

Listener Profile: A summary of your audience’s demographic attributes that CoHost can pull about your listeners. Includes age, household income, family, and pets. This is found within Advanced Audience Demographics

B2B Analytics: An overview of the companies and industries that are listening to your show including their size, revenue, and location. This information is broken down on both a show and episode level. This is found within CoHost’s B2B Analytics: Companies and Industries

Tracking Links: See which of your social media and guest promotions are bringing in the most downloads for your show. Tracking links consolidate all of your listening app links into one page so you can distribute them on social media. From there, you can track how many clicks and downloads all of the links brought in for your show broken down by individual links or by platform. 

What this means for you: 

The value of a branded podcast isn’t just in creating a high-quality show, the value of a branded podcast comes from creating a high-quality show that reaches the right audience. 

Without the data to guide you, you won’t be able to make informed decisions on how to best market, advertise, and grow your show – and most importantly, you won’t be able to verify that your content is reaching your target audience and resonating with them.

By leveraging tools like B2B Analytics and Advanced Audience Demographics, you can ensure that your podcast is making the right impact with the right people. 

Podcast ROI 

ROI  is top of mind for many podcasters. 

After all, you're putting time, effort, and money into creating and promoting your show. But how do you know if it's worth it? Below we lay out some of our trusted ways to measure podcast ROI

Podcast ROI: A way to measure the financial gain (or loss) you get from investing in a podcast, expressed as a percentage of this investment's cost. There are several ways to measure the ROI of your podcast, and the best one for you will depend on your goals and the type of show you have. 

Below are a few common methods to consider:

Awareness ROI

Calculating your podcast ROI for awareness-based goals primarily consists of measuring your downloads or unique listeners. 

You would take your total number of downloads (or unique listeners) and subtract that from your cost of investment. You'd then divide by your cost of investment and multiply by 100. 

For example, say you've received 80,000 downloads while spending $10,000.

It would look like this:

(80,000-10,000)/10,000 = 7

7 x 100 = 700%

Your ROI is 700%.

Engagement ROI: 

For calculating your podcast ROI with engagement or more specifically, listener attention, you would take your average consumption rate in minutes and multiply that by the number of listeners that episode received. 

You'd then subtract that number by your cost of investment and divide that by your cost of investment again. Finally, you'd multiply this by 100. 

For example, say your average consumption rate for an episode is 20 minutes and you received 3000 listeners while spending $10,000.

It would look like this:

20 x 3,000 = 60,000

(60,000-10,000)/10,000 = 5

5 x 100 = 500%

Your ROI is 500%.

ROI of Leads: 

When looking at leads, you want to look at the potential revenue that they could be driving to your company. 

For example, say you have 50 leads from your podcast and each lead is worth $1,000. 

You would multiply that 50 by 1,000 and then subtract that number by the cost of investment. Once you have this number, you divide this new number by the cost of investment and then multiply by 100. 

It would look like this: 

50 x 1,000 = 50,000

(50,000-10,000)/10,000 = 4

4 x 100 = 400% 

Your ROI is 400%.

Calculate the ROI of your podcast with CoHost’s free Podcast ROI Calculator

What this means for you:

Podcast ROI is about more than just financial return on a podcast investment. It's about measuring the benefits you're getting from your investment in terms of awareness, brand uplift, relationships built, and then of course revenue. And while some of these benefits are tangible and easy to quantify, others are intangible and more difficult to measure.

Analyzing podcast ROI allows you to determine the effectiveness of your podcast strategy and its impact on your overall goals. By measuring ROI, you can identify which aspects of your podcast are working well and make informed decisions about future episodes. 

Equally, these valuable insights support your brand and podcast in several ways:

  • Objective evaluation of success: Measuring ROI provides quantifiable data to determine if the podcast is meeting your company's goals.
  • Budget allocation: Make informed decisions on where to allocate resources and can justify the investment in audio.
  • Adaptation and improvement: Easily adapt podcast strategies based on what's working and what's not, leading to continuous improvement.
  • Sponsorship and monetization: Attract potential sponsors or advertisers by demonstrating the value and reach of the podcast.
  • Content strategy alignment: Determine if the podcast aligns with your overall content strategy and contributes effectively to your communication goals.
  • Benchmarking and competitive analysis: Provide benchmarks to compare the performance of your branded podcast against competitors or industry standards or your performance YoY.

Podcast Advertising Analytics

With a staggering 81% of podcast listeners engaging with podcast ads and 68% of podcast listeners going on to make a purchase based on a podcast ad, podcast advertising is on everyone’s radar in 2023. Below we outline some key terms you’ll want to know before increasing your ad spend: 

Dynamic Ad Insertion: The ability to add an advertisement to a podcast episode by manipulating the enclosure URL in the RSS feed. Most dynamic ad capabilities allow a podcaster to control their ad inventory, the number of plays for each ad, and even target locations they can be played in. 

Pre-Roll Ad Insertion: An ad placed at the beginning of a podcast.

Mid-Roll Ad Insertion: An ad placed anywhere in the middle of a podcast. 

Post-Roll Ad Insertion: An ad placed anywhere at the end of a podcast. 

What this means for you: 

Dynamic ad insertion capabilities are particularly valuable as they allow advertisers to control when and where their ads are played in podcast episodes. This level of control ensures that ads are delivered to the right audience at the right time, enhancing their effectiveness.

To ensure you’re reaching and resonating with the right audience, dynamic ad insertion also enables targeting based on factors such as location, demographics, or user behavior. This personalized approach can significantly increase the relevance of ads, making them more appealing to listeners and improving conversion rates.