As a creator, you already know that podcasting is an art—but it’s also a science. Understanding who listens to your podcast and how they interact with it lays the foundation for growth. That’s where podcast analytics come in.
Podcast analytics refers to listening data and insights from those who consume your content. That may include aggregated listener data such as location, age, and other demographic data. Getting familiar with this data can help you make smart decisions about your future content. And the best part? You don’t need to be a data expert to understand what it all means.
In this article, we’ll show you how to use podcast analytics to fine-tune your content and attract new fans—whether you just launched a show or you already have a dedicated following.
To access your podcast analytics, log into your Anchor Dashboard and head over to Your Podcast Performance. You can also view your analytics on your phone or tablet with Anchor’s mobile analytics.
There’s plenty to look at in your analytics dashboard, so let’s walk through four best practices to make the most of your data.
1. Keep an ear on listener data to inform your decisions
Spotify only supplies data in aggregate trends—not for individual users. Here are two types of listener data you should pay close attention to.
Age and gender
Let’s say the majority of your listeners are women between the ages of 23–27. With that in mind, you can plan episodes or book guests who are relevant to this demographic.
When the co-hosts of “Blood On Their Hands: A Big Brother Fancast” discovered that their audience was split 54% female and 46% male, they drew up a detailed promotional strategy for the show.
“Knowing that women are a little more likely to listen to my show, I can start promoting my show more intentionally with these listeners in mind and see if that increases my overall audience size,” said Maya Prohovnik, the show’s co-host and director of R&D in Spotify’s Talk Mission. “Depending on how this affects retention, I’ll balance this approach with episode segments and promotional content that are inclusive of all demographics, in order to keep my podcast broadly appealing.”
Geographic data indicates where in the world people listen to your podcast. Accurate geo-data guides the type of content you create and how you promote your show.
If your show has a strong following in a specific city or region, for instance, consider booking guests who have ties there. You can also schedule an appearance or record an episode in an area where you have a high concentration of fans.
Maybe you have a goal to grow your international audience. If that’s the case, see which countries your show has listeners in and concentrate your efforts there, whether through targeted advertising campaigns or an influencer collaboration.
2. Revisit your greatest hits to plan future content
Anchor displays your most-played episodes in your selected time range. You should be proud of all the content you create, but knowing which episodes performed particularly well gives you a roadmap to continue producing content that listeners love.
Say most of your episodes featured conversations with guests, but you recorded a solo episode that got more plays than you expected—why not add more solo episodes to your content calendar?
Did a certain topic generate a spike in plays? Revisit that subject again, from a fresh angle. Did a specific guest send a lot of traffic to your podcast? Consider booking them again or book a guest with a similar personality or expertise.
Think of it like a restaurant: if the chef sees a dish is always sold out, they order more of the necessary ingredients (and they definitely don’t take it off the menu).
3. Review listening platform data to see how people consume your content
The listening platform section of your analytics tells you which apps and devices people use to play your show. You can use these insights to make more relevant calls to action, or even tailor your show to mobile or desktop.
If the majority of your fans use mobile devices, they’re probably listening to your show on the go. In that case, you may want to avoid using a lot of visual cues in your episodes, as that can create a disconnect for audio-only fans.
On the other hand, if you have a growing number of desktop listeners, consider creating Video Podcasts on Spotify, where fans can watch your content like a TV talk show.
Syndicating your podcast across multiple platforms can help maximize your reach. Understanding how your fans tune in helps you determine which platforms are most valuable, whether it’s on Spotify or somewhere else.
4. Evaluate episode drop-off to increase average listen time
Powered by Spotify’s streaming technology, drop-off data gives you a second-by-second breakdown of how many listeners stay tuned in throughout the duration of an episode. Examining drop-off data pinpoints which segments of your show are the most engaging and which ones have opportunities for improvement.
To see drop-off information in Anchor, click on any episode in your web dashboard. This will generate a performance chart like the one below. The dips you see indicate where listeners either skipped or stopped playing an episode.
Revisiting drop-off periods takes the guesswork out of deciding what’s working (and what isn’t), so you can improve future episodes. If you see a steep drop in retention, review that point in the episode to see what might have caused it.
On the other hand, if episode retention is strong in one area, consider creating a clip to promote the episode on social media. You can even monetize the entire episode with Anchor’s Podcast Subscriptions feature since the content is in-demand.
If you see a big decline in listenership in the beginning of your episodes (like the example below), this is an opportunity to refine the first minute of your show. That may involve front-loading your episode with compelling information or a teaser to hook listeners. Or, it may be as simple as shortening your episode intro.
In addition to viewing individual episode performance, it’s important to compare episode drop-off across multiple episodes to find patterns. For example, if your episodes are an hour but listeners tend to fade around the 45-minute mark, consider shortening your episodes.
Know the numbers to grow the numbers
You devote countless hours to creating content that your fans love, so it's important that those hours are spent laying the foundation for growth. You don’t need to take a “throw it at the wall and see what sticks” approach when you have data at your fingertips to tell you what’s working.
Understanding podcast analytics puts you in a position to make decisions about your show based on data, not guesswork—whether it’s planning your content calendar or coming up with a creative way to promote a new episode.
If you’re facing a creative roadblock, a plateau in growth, or just want to stay ahead of the curve, a quick dive into your podcast analytics will surely spark some ideas.