Luckily, getting your podcast to appear on Spotify is easy, especially if you’re working with a podcast agency that covers this task for you. But once you’ve completed that step, you’ve only just begun your podcasting journey. Next, it’s time to start tracking your analytics so you can continue improving along the way.
To help podcasters reach their goals, Spotify offers a helpful overview of back-end data about their listeners. For example, the platform shares information like who your listeners are, the episodes they’re loving the most, and the music they’re into, all of which can help you create new content that will keep your audience coming back for more or organize sponsors for advertising.
Spotify also offers a deep dive into the metrics from each individual episode, such as how long people are listening for, when they tend to drop off, and how much your followers are growing with each new episode drop. The best part is that all this data is updated every day, so you can track your stats in real time and keep a close eye on your podcast’s growth curve.
To make your tracking process even simpler, Spotify allows podcasters to download all this data as a .CSV file so you can measure your progress over time and create reports for leadership teams or other stakeholders.
So, what are the key metrics you should be tracking on Spotify to ensure your podcast is consistently growing its audience and reaching more listeners? Below, we’ve outlined some of the most important podcast stats to track through Spotify:
Not to get confused with downloads, a unique listener refers to someone who has started listening to at least one of your podcast episodes. That listener is only tracked once per episode, meaning if I was to listen to the episode twice, it would count as one unique listener but two downloads.
Followers are different from unique listeners because instead of simply listening to one or more of your episodes, they’ve committed to hitting the “follow” button, which means they automatically receive each new episode once it’s launched. (AKA, they’re probably a big fan of your show!). Follows is a great metric to start tracking loyal listeners but remember, there could be audiences out there that listen to every episode but don’t follow your show. Don’t let this metric be the be-all and end-all for loyal fans.
Spotify counts a “start” as anyone who has started listening to one of your episodes, even if they only listened for a few seconds. This is helpful to see if there are trends in your listeners starting an episode but then not listening to completion. It could be a tell that maybe you need to make your intro more engaging, your episodes, shorter, or test out a different format.
Streams, on the other hand, qualify as anyone who has listened to an episode for more than 60 seconds. When it comes to comparing starts vs. streams, you can likely guess which metric will tell you more about your podcast’s growth. If you have less streams than starts, this is another clear indication that you might want to change up your intro or question whether your episode title is misleading.
Spotify calculates the average listen by averaging the data for at least 50% of listeners to determine how long listeners are tuning in for. This metric can be a helpful guide to understanding whether or not your content is resonating with your target audience.
As a brand, get comfy with experimenting with episodes to see if any different directions help to sway the average listening time for audiences, helping you understand what they resonate with most.
Spotify also tracks information about your audience such as their age and gender identity. The platform also tracks the top five most listened to artists of any listener who has tuned into your show in the past 28 days. These stats are extremely important to track because they will ultimately help you get to know your listeners better so you can create content that’s aligned with their personal preferences, interests and values.
While all of these stats are important to track in different ways, the most important element to prioritize on your podcast journey is forming a genuine connection with your listeners. The more you get to know your listeners, their habits, and what makes them tick, the more you can create powerful and impactful content that will resonate with them on a deeper level.
Continuing to grow your audience over time is important, but it won’t mean much if you haven’t connected with your listeners on a human-to-human level. One of the keys to podcasting success is remaining authentic and tapping into the psychology of your listeners in each episode, which will help you find sustainable growth and longevity in the podcasting space.
Learn more about Spotify’s podcast stats and how to make the most of your metrics at podcasters.spotify.com.
Mackenzie Patterson is the Senior Producer & Content Strategist at Quill Inc, and a Toronto-based writer, and journalist. She's always exploring the latest movies, TV shows and wellness trends.